MEPS to debate NSA tapping of Swift data

MEPS to debate NSA tapping of Swift data

European politicians are to debate the purported tapping by the US National Security Agency of bank-to-bank payments messages sent over the Swift network.

Leaked papers released last week by whistleblower Edward Snowden alleged that the NSA tapped in to credit card and bank-to-bank transactions crossing the Visa and Swift networks as part of its global intelligence gathering operations.

Both Visa and Swift have denied the claims, saying they are not aware of any unauthorised intrusion into their networks.

MEPs are to debate the reports on Tuesday at the third hearing of the Civil Liberties Committee inquiry into US and EU countries' surveillance schemes with Swedish Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

The EU's Civil Liberties Committee has been extremely critical of a data sharing deal agreed between the EU and US in 2010 that gives US agencies limited access to bank data transferred across the Swift network.

In 2011, they complained that US requests for banking data "are too general and abstract to allow Europol to check whether they meet EU data protection standards, and Europol seems to be merely rubber-stamping them".

At Tuesday's meeting, MEPs will also hear the views of Jens-Henrik Jeppesen and Greg Nojeim, from the American Center for Democracy and Technology, and of Caspar Bowden, an independent researcher, who will present a study on US surveillance programmes and their impact on EU citizens' privacy.

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