This is a topic that caught my eye a while ago and just found out it’s still an open issue.
According to their website:
SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. Over 8,300 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 208 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.
So basically it’s the organization that manages the API’s and systems that make international banking work smoothly.
This Belgium based organization had it’s major databases in the US until an article in the NY Times aired that the CIA under the Bush administration had been data mining the database to find links to terrorism, after Europe protested the database was move to Holland. So the issue now is that the US intelligence agencies want to keep having unlimited access to spy on EU Citizens using the usual terrorism joker card.
I think this is a big issue and should be handled a such. There are some open questions I have to this deal:
What does a US or in fact any intelligence agency have to do with our financial records without a warrant?
Is every person in the world considered a potential terrorist?
Were are rights, are privacy?
While we’re at it: How long is this data retained? How is it guarded? Who makes sure it’s correctly discarded?
Benjamin Franklin summed this up better than I can ever try to:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety