Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Privacy, Violated

Last month’s dancing bear routine of false indignation over the US government tracking financial transaction has yielded fairly efficiently to numb silence over the EU spying on people in precisely the same way.

The European Commission is to begin talks with member states on the Europe-wide monitoring of financial transactions by suspected terrorists.

Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, announced yesterday (24 March) that the scheme would be modelled on the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP) operated by the United States. “We would like to set up our own TFTP,” she said.
Now, it seems that looking at others’ data is oh-tay, except without these louts howling and baying about rights being shredded, etcetera, etcetera...

Reding said that she would also seek to negotiate a framework agreement with the US that would set standards for all transatlantic agreements involving data sharing.

A new agreement on Swift is necessary after the European Parliament, using new powers under the Lisbon treaty, rejected an interim agreement with the US in February.
After all, just a few weeks ago, the issue was all about as pedestrian as being about personal attention seeking behavior, if anything.
MEPs have been basking in the warm glow of global political attention over the EU-US arrangements on sharing bank transfer data. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek on Friday (5 February) to enlist his support for a temporary data-sharing deal.

William Kennard, the new US ambassador to the EU, was lobbying so assiduously in the corridors of Parliament that Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal group, quipped that Kennard was “working harder than an MEP”. German centre-right MEP Manfred Weber, who is the European People Party's co-ordinator on SWIFT, also seemed to have doubts about the diligence of his colleagues
If anything says “too late, no deal” to data sharing with the EU from now on, it’s motives like those ones we see having been touted over the use of SWIFT data.

If they want to play that game with the lives of their citizens, then to hell with them. They simply can’t be trusted.