EU ‘not satisfied’ with US retorts on spying scandal

EU ‘not satisfied’ with US retorts on spying scandal
Tue Sep 24, 2013 15:26:49

The European Union is “not satisfied” with Washington’s answers on latest US spying scandals on international bank transfers, a top official says.

"I'm not satisfied with what we have gotten so far," said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom during a hearing at the European Parliament on Tuesday.

She added, "I will be seeking exhaustive explanations, comprehensive information.”

The reports that US intelligence services tapped into the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) stems from documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, which have strained relations between Washington and Europe.

Malmstrom wrote in a recent letter to US Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Under Secretary David Cohen that “should the facts in these press reports be confirmed, they would further weaken the confidence between the EU and the US and would undoubtedly impact on our cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism."

Since the disclosure, there have been calls by EU lawmakers for the suspension of a data-sharing agreement between the EU and the US. The deal grants Washington access to data from the SWIFT network used by thousands of banks to send transaction information securely.

"There have been very severe allegations in the press," said Malmstrom adding, "If these allegations are true, they constitute a breach of the agreement and a breach of the agreement can certainly lead to a suspension."

Malmstrom warned already in July, prior to the bank transfer disclosure, that the EU could reconsider financial data sharing agreements with the US if it was determined that the accords have not been executed “in full compliance with the law.”

The privacy violations were first revealed by Snowden in June. He leaked confidential information that showed the NSA collects data of phone records and Internet communication in the US and Europe as well as other countries.


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