In Mass Surveillance Fallout, European Parliament Votes To Suspend Financial Data Sharing With United States

This week, the European Parliament voted to immediately suspend the sharing of European financial tracking data with the United States in a 280-254 decision, as well as calling for criminal investigations of the NSA. This follows in the footsteps of mass surveillance revelations that the NSA has illegally hacked into the SWIFT financial data. This appears to be yet another public wake-up and backlash against the secretive wiretapping industry.

The European Parliament has voted to immediately suspend the SWIFT data-sharing program with the United States. This follows on revelations that the NSA has hacked into the SWIFT system, which manages European and global financial transactions, and illegally given themselves access to the entire system. The European Parliament considers this to be so thorough and brutal a breach of trust, that the data-sharing agreement is called to be revoked immediately.

Under the so-called SWIFT data-sharing agreement, European financial transactions are sent to the United States in bulk, in a joint attempt to combat terrorism in the Terrorist Finance Tracking System (TFTS). Critics of the program have pointed out that it is a privacy violation of European citizens, as well as a naïve way of giving U.S. industries the upper hand in business negotiations by giving them an information advantage.

The European Parliament instructs the police of the European states to begin criminal investigations into the NSA’s dealings:

(from the Europarl report)

10. Asks the Council and the Member States, in the light of the above, to authorize an investigation by the Europol Cybercrime Centre into the allegations of unauthorized access to financial payment data governed by the Agreement;

11. Calls on the special inquiry by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs into the mass surveillance of EU citizens to further investigate the allegations of unlawful access to financial payment messages covered by the Agreement;

The SWIFT data-sharing agreement was championed by European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who first negotiated it while sitting on a different chair, and then championed it from the Commission once having been appointed European Commissioner, insisting that the European Parliament must approve it. She has bet a lot of her career on this data-sharing, and the European Parliament’s vote this week is not just a blow to the credibility and trustability of the United States, but also to her personal political career.

It remains to be seen if Commissioner Malmström intends to defy the European Parliament by refusing to suspend the data sharing. It also remains to be seen if a revocation of voluntary data sharing has any practical effect, seeing how the NSA has illegally given itself access to the data anyway.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Anonymous

    it’s too late to stop the NSA and others, particularly in the UK (who were and still are completely in bed with the USA over this spying on everyone, everywhere) from carrying out what they have been doing and therefore to stop them from doing so in the future. i find it so hard to understand why no one is actually doing anything about this total abuse the USA has been carrying out and been caught doing! they condemned China a ferw months ago of doing something similar and made a real big thing of it. they accused a Chinese company, Huawei, of implementing ‘back doors’ into tech products sold and used in the USA and made a big thing of that. now they have bben caught of doing far worse than any other nation and not only are they still trying to play down the seriousness, not only are their senior security heads still denying what has become fact about scooping up millions of calls from everywhere, with Feinstein still saying everything is legal, there has been no attempt to even ease back by the USA. they are carrying on just the same! the FISA court has just given the go-ahead to continue scooping up goodness knows what info, 99% of which is useless to the spy agencies but still an invasion of privacy, of peoples rights! there is no nation on the planet that deserves to be trusted less than the USA!
    then we hear that paragraphs of text from the defeated ACTA document are rearing again and the inclusion of clauses that will allow companies to sue nations because they think they should have made more profits! whenever there is a crock of crap coming out, it’s from the USA! whenever there is something being discussed that is going to be detrimental to the world, it comes from the USA! whenever there are Trade Agreements being discussed thery# are held in secret, at the insistance of the USA, just because they want to have all benefits for them and their businesses. when another nation turns down USA proposals, that nation is threatened with, at the least, trade sanctions! nothing is done that is for the benefit of anyone except the USA and even then, when it is perhaps going to benefit the people, there are such stringent rules applied, that only businesses again benefit.
    get out of bed with the yanks people. they have nothing that cant be got from somewhere else and do nothing that benefits anyone except them. we will be better off if they stayed in their own country and left the rest of us the hell alone!!

    1. filino

      Completely agree!

    2. M

      “There is no nation on the planet that deserves to be trusted less than the USA!”

      Word up!

  2. A random person

    Can you please help me? Tell Anna Troberg there is something wrong with both her comment fields and her e-mail.

    I am the person who commented here about a person I know who loves surveillance:

    As you can see, I discussed with Wertigon, but now I can’t get my comments in! “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. I tried e-mailing Anna, clearly writing in the subject line what is wrong, I have sent many e-mails over a few days with no response. I tried writing a comment under a different pseudonym on a different article and a different fake email address, but that too gets blocked and never let in.

    It seems like something is blocking both comments and emails, maybe from “my” IP address which is that of an an anonymizing VPN service. I don’t think Anna would do something like that, so it’s probably automatic. Can you ask her to look at her automated filters?

    I hope my message will get in here, that they aren’t linked somehow. If I don’t answer you here, you know why.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      I have alerted Ms. Troberg to the situation.


  3. Same random person (logical fallacy?:-)


  4. Ian Farquhar

    One question I have not seen asked, but which is relevant here.

    The US has shown it is very keen on extraditing foreign nationals who have hacked US computer systems, even if the accused was not located in the US at the time the offense occurred.

    So if it is demonstrated that:

    1) US citizens, without the protection of diplomatic immunity (few non-embassy officers have), have hacked into European computer systems
    2) This is an indictable, serious offense in that country

    Why shouldn’t those European countries issue arrest warrants for those US intelligence officers, the management of the intelligence services who ordered it, and any others who facilitated this?

    Of course, you would need names, and attribution is challenging, but hardly impossible.

    At the very least, as it’s quite unlikely that the US would extradite it’s own intelligence officers, those officers could be prevented from traveling internationally due to open Interpol arrest warrants.

    Few things would so clearly say to the US that this behavior is absolutely unacceptable, using the tool the USG so regularly abuses.

    1. Anonymous

      because it’s nothing to do with the entertainment industries. now, if they were involved, it would be a different matter.
      i just read yesterday where the MPAA has given another big list of sites it wants blocked. not all are in the USA. the really interesting point is that in there info they have said that a member of TPB, Svartholm, has been extradited to Denmark and has been tried and sentenced for computer hacking offences! he is still in Sweden atm!
      if that doesn’t give an indication of what they expect/know is going to happen and the depth of their interference and power, i dont know what is!!

      1. Googla

        Do you have a link to that MPAA list?

        1. Anonymous
      2. Ian Farquhar

        Gary McKinnon, as far as I can tell, was never accused of IP issues.

        His was a pure hacking case against the USG, for which they sought extradition. Fortunately, in this rare case, it was denied. But only after significant pressure on the authorities.

  5. Anonymous

    then have a look here

    now tell me we are making progress Rik! cause i’m f****d if i can see it! as soon as one country stops or eases up protecting mainly the USA entertainment industries, probably because of the more important NSA spying, another one, usually the UK jumps straight in! and as usual, all done in secret, all done without any chance being given to defend themselves (if they want to)! why the hell is the UK so keen to pick up where the USA leaves off? i can only think that Cameron is such a wanker, he cant bear the thought of the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the USA being put to any test! he ought to get away from there as fast as possible and start thinking more about how to get the UK itself out of the shit street it’s in, thanks to Thatcher privatising the North Sea oil and gas business, now there’s about 80% needed to be bough!! tosser!!

  6. Anonymous

    it shows exactly how we are winning this copyright battle, Rik. when the EU law, from what i understand, says you cant be tried for the same thing in another country if already found not guilty in one country. Svartholm of TPB 4 has just had his appeal rejected by the Swedish Supreme Court. again, if i am correct, that means they are breaking the law, just as they did when they had bias judges in the original trial, but it hasn’t stopped the USG and MPAA etc from influencing the way the law is run there, has it? and no one of power and position gives a fuck or is trying to do anything about it, are they? and i’ll bet anything that the charges he was found not guilty on in the last trial are going to be reintroduced in Denmark. the lawyers there will have been working their asses off to ensure there is no way he can be cleared of any charges, guilty or innocent! and all this has come about because of the failure to do as customers asked of the US entertainment industries and their thirst for revenge, for blood, even if they have to lie and bribe to achieve it! their expression, i am sure is something like ‘no one takes the piss our of us and gets away with it! the problem comes when the law is flouted, bent and twisted to achieve a verdict the accuser wants! our society is falling apart and being forced to do so by a bunch of pricks that live in a fantasy world and cant get back to reality!!

Comments are closed.