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U.S. Criticizes EU's Rejection of SWIFT Agreement


February 12, 2010

While privacy advocates are praising the EU's vote Thursday to reject an agreement allowing European bank transfer data to be shared with the U.S., Obama administration officials are calling the move a "setback" for counterterrorism cooperation, the Washington Post reports. Citing privacy concerns, the European Parliament voted 378 to 196 to reject an interim agreement allowing access to financial transactions maintained by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) until a long-term agreement is reached. U.S. officials are voicing concerns that ending government's ability to track potential terrorist financing poses future risks. However, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) President Marc Rotenberg is quoted as saying the EU vote should send a message to other legislative bodies to stand up for "fundamental freedoms and transparency." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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