Austria joins Privacy International's SWIFT campaign

By EDRi · July 19, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

As previously reported in EDRI-gram the international financial surveillance
programme run by the US government and involving the European company SWIFT
(Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, based in
Belgium) continues to raise discussion in several countries in Europe.

According to SWIFT’s Austrian board member, Günther Gall, 150 million
data sets of transactions were forwarded to US intelligence services.
The whole SWIFT board, including Mr. Gall, has known about this since the
beginning in 2001. This is “less than 1 percent” of all transactions,
but it is nevertheless a breach of privacy laws and financial secrecy.
Members of Austrian business organisations have also voiced big concerns
about possible cases of industrial espionage, because it is not known
who has access to the intercepted SWIFT data. Combining the data from
money transfers and the disputed Passenger Name Records data
enables everyone who gets these records to use them for economic

Organisations in UK, Germany and Austria have begun to investigate the
scope of the damage caused by the SWIFT tapping. Letters to local banks
and SWIFT board members have been prepared and published. Every company,
business and individual is advised to demand a clarification about the
intercepted data on the basis of data protection laws. Furthermore legal
steps are being prepared against the SWIFT board since they gave
customer details away without mutual consent.

CIA Spionage – ist auch Ihr Konto betroffen? (only in German, 19.07.2006)

PI launches campaign to suspend unlawful activities of finance giant

An Open Letter to the CEO of SWIFT on other covert programmes for access to
financial data (12.07.2006)[347]=x-347-539512

Industriespionage statt Antiterrorkampf? (only in German, 11.07.2006)

EDRi-Gram : Terrorist Finance Tracking Program raises privacy questions

(Contribution by René Pfeiffer – EDRI-member Quintessenz – Austria)