Did SWIFT break European laws?

– by telling all to the Emperor’s stormtroopers with no legal authority from anybody? Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber, who knows a lot about privacy policy, thinks probably yes.

Dammit, this means ME – and the same realization is dawning on all those Essex Tory Daily Mail readers on the Costas. The Atlantic just got another league wider. (Update: unfortunately I have no evidence for wider expat outrage, see comments)

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

5 thoughts on “Did SWIFT break European laws?”

  1. "…and the same realization is dawning on all those Essex Tory Daily Mail readers on the Costas"
    Could you please post a link? For recreational value, if nothing else. It's fun to watch right-wingers realize that they aren't in on the con, that they are part of the conned, along with us.

  2. Hum. I spoke too soon – wishful thinking base don Henry Farrwell's Irish Times link. The BBC reported the item but the story hasn't run on. Of the right-wing British press, the Telegraph did (in a David Rennie column http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/davidrennie/… criticising the European press reaction) but I can't find anything on the Express and Mail sites. The German tabloid Dild Zeitung did, here. http://www.bild.t-online.de/BTO/news/aktuell/2006
    The Financial Times coverage doesn't count here.
    I think I'll have to withdraw the post in a couple of hours as materially wrong. Sorry.

  3. Sorry, I didn't mean to criticize. I genuinely wanted to read some of the howls of pain, for amusement. I figure that, if the right wants to play quasi-dictatorial games, that they're fair game whenever they find themselves on the receiving end.

  4. Don't apologise! While one of the dangers of blogging is shooting from the hip, one of its countervailing merits is the possibility of rapid correction of mistakes; and a mistake is mistake, whether it's pointed out by a hostile critic or a friendly commenter like you.
    I still think the SWIFT episode is damaging. Increasing friction over data protection is one cost, as Farrell points out. He doesn't go into the dangers of Bush' lawlessness to cross-border cooperation between cops and between prosecutors. This only partly depends on treaties; more important is mutual confidence between professionals. To cut through red tape on say an arrest warrant, a cop needs to feel confidence that her/his opposite number is playing by similar rules, and would bend them only to a similar extent. If the US is perceived as having thrown the rule-book away, and it clearly has, cooperation is bound to be chilled. It's taken a long time to get working international cooperation over money laundering. The Bush damage won't be put right in a day.

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