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EU lawmakers upset by poor protection of swift banking data

Jennifer Baker | March 17, 2011
A second review of the controversial Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) has done little to allay European parliamentarians' fears of poor data security.

"Where the implementation of this complex agreement can be made even more effective, Europol has already initiated relevant work with U.S. colleagues and its own data protection specialists," said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol.

The report was drawn up by a team of three Commission officials, two data protection experts and a judicial expert from Eurojust (an E.U. agency targeting organized crime), with contributions from U.S. representatives and Europol. But parliamentarians are still concerned. Putting Europol in charge of data exchanges was like putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop, said British MEP Sarah Ludford on Wednesday.

The European Parliament only grudgingly agreed to the SWIFT accord last year, but many MEPs feel that efforts at safeguarding citizens' rights have been ignored. German MEP and member of the civil liberties committee, Alexander Alvaro, has called for another review of the agreement within three months. "If this review also delivers problematic results we will call on all available means to suspend the agreement," he said.

Other MEPs have warned they may block future data transfer deals with the U.S. unless they see a change in the situation.

 

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