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EU SWIFT Agreement ignores UK Data Protection legislation
Date 06/07/2010 15:15  Author webmaster  Hits 1747  Language Global
 VIDEO
The passing of a new SWIFT financial transaction agreement with the United States simply ignores UK data protection laws and hands data about UK citizens to the US Government without their consent, UKIP MEP Gerard Batten said today.
 
Mr Batten, who is a member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties committee, said that the agreement simply 'trashed the basis of the UK's Data Protection Act' and allowed a foreign government to access private, personal data on financial transaction whenever it saw fit.
 
Mr Batten said, "Once again, the EU has ignored the rights of individuals in the interests of furthering its own agenda.
 
"The agreement relies upon the US government being honest and transparent about its access to data, despite the US having ignored EU legislation for the previous 5 years.


"Not only is this a completely one-sided piece of legislation which benefits the US without offering corresponding benefits to European nation states, it also tramples over UK national law."
 
Although the UK retains on opt-out over entering the agreement, it is clear from the UK government briefing that the UK intends not to exercise the opt-out clause.
 
Speaking during the debate in Strasbourg earlier today, Mr Batten told parliamentarians: "This agreement is proposed under the Lisbon Treaty and therefore lacks all democratic legitimacy." 
 
He added: "This is a problem that will come back to haunt us continually in the years to come. You have created an illegal state and now you make illegal laws.
 
"Look at the way that this was done. These few MEPs that were given access to this secret agreement were only allowed to see it after signing a declaration of honour not to reveal its contents. 
 
"Most importantly, the people of Europe to whom the information actually belongs are totally unaware of its contents.
 
"More specifically, the proposed legislation is illegal under existing UK data protection law governing the international transfer of private citizens' personal details. Under the act such information cannot be shared without the consent of the individuals concerned."
 
Mr Batten said that "the USA authorities have already shown that they simply help themselves to such as and when they deem fit. The USA cannot be trusted to observe other nations' rights. The confidential and private financial data in question belongs to the individual and not the European Union or the European Parliament. They have no right to share it with the USA or anybody else."
 
Mr Batten asked by what right did Britain's representative on the Council over-ride existing national law in order to reach this agreement.
 
"Terrorism has to be opposed," Mr Batten said, "but it must not be used as a cloak to remove citizens' rights and protections.
 
"This is just the latest example of how the EU is creating an undemocratic, illegitimate political state. The UK Independence Party will vote against."
 
The initial SWIFT agreement which tmmission attempted to impose on the EU was rejected by the European Parliament in January of this year.  This agreement is a replacement which contains a number of unworkable data protection safeguards which rely on the US not acting as it did previously and simply ignoring data protection concerns.

Related:
SWIFT II: Civil Liberties Committee approves draft agreement (European Parliament Press Release)