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LYMEC: No sellout of personal bank data

08-17-2009 11:24 AM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: LYMEC - European Liberal Youth

The European Liberal Youth LYMEC strongly criticizes plans to grant US officials access to European bank data. Recently, member states have mandated the Presidency of the Council to negotiate new conditions under which the US will get unlimited access to private banking data.

The US wants to have access to a new European database that SWIFT, a huge inter-bank network, is setting up in Switzerland. Currently the US treasury already can access SWIFT's American database. SWIFT handles millions of transactions daily between banks and other financial institutions worldwide. It holds the data of some 8,000 banks and almost all transactions between banks from different EU member states are handled by it.

Reacting to this, LYMEC President Aloys Rigaut states: 'It is utterly inacceptable to negotiate a deal, that basically is about giving away the financial privacy of all Europeans, during the summer recess and without even involving the parliament. If the US gets automatic access to our financial data, there will be no legal protection against this for the individual citizen. We move more and more into the direction of a big brother state – and now this big brother is sharing his knowledge with his pals who are even more reckless when it comes to ignoring data protection.'

LYMEC Vice President Alexander Plahr adds: 'This data sharing agreement must be stopped. The number of European transactions handled by SWIFT will become a lot higher in the coming years, as the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) replaces traditional national clearing infrastructures. Doing your wire transfers by IBAN and BIC number will then be the standard even within member states.'

Before continuing: 'SWIFT moves its servers to Europe with the very purpose to protect their customers –basically everyone’s- privacy from unlimited access which is not allowed by a judge in a rule-of-law way. Now member states foil that intention by making the European database just as un-private as the current one in the US. This is a sellout of our bank data which can not be tolerated! Us liberals believe that especially in the fight against terrorism we as a free society must stick to our ideals and moral high ground. We do not protect our liberty by abolishing it!'

The European Liberal Youth, abbreviated as LYMEC, is a pan-European youth organisation seeking to promote liberal values throughout the EU and particularly through and as the youth organisation of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) and its parliamentary group in the European Parliament (ALDE).

Involving about 210,000 members from all across Europe, LYMEC is made up Member Organisations (MO) and Individual Membership (IM) and it is active across the European continent. Our central aim is the creation of a liberal and federal Europe.

LYMEC Secretariat
c/o ELDR Party, Rue Montoyer 31/7, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 237 0146
Fax: +32 2 231 1907
Email: office@lymec.eu
Website: www.lymec.eu

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