EU-USA: SWIFT-TFTP Agreement Report: Second Report on the processing of EU-originating personal data by the US Treasury Department for counter-terrorism purposes


Second Report on the processing of EU-originating personal data by the US Treasury Department for counter-terrorism purposes: Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme, January 2010 (pdf) by Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere (the "European Eminent Person"). This report by the Judge took place under the previous SWIFT-TFTP agreement with the USA on the transfer of data on all financial transactions recorded by the EU-based SWIFT system. However, this report poses relevant questions for the new EU-USA Agreement: Full-text of New EU-USA Agreement on Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (Agreed in July 2010, pdf).

1. The Judge did not, and was not expected to, question who falls into the "terrorist nexus" as defined by US agencies. The American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Watch List say that over 1 million people are on the US Terrorist Screening Center watch list used by the TFTP. Although comparisons are difficult to make Interpol says that "in January 2008, there were 8,479 persons suspected in database linked to terrorist activities."

2. Nor does the Judge address the question of how many US agencies have access to TFTP reports derived from SWIFT and whether they further process them (ie: add data and comments before further circulating them). A US source told Statewatch that the default of US agencies is to "share" information both horizontally (across the Federal government) and vertically (down to state and local agencies) as set out in Bush's Directive on the Information Sharing Environment. A recent investigation by the Washington Post found that there were 1,271 government agencies dealing with counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence (excluding state and local agencies): Top secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (Washington Post, link)

3. The TFTP had produced over 1,550 reports (based on data gathered from the SWIFT-TFTP agreement) over the previous 8 years and of these 800 had been sent to non-EU governments: "To protect the original source of the information, the receiving government typically has not known that the information was derived from the TFTP."

 

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