EU interim technical supervisor for EU-US Swift Agreement

By EDRi · August 25, 2010

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Deutsch: [Einstweilige technische Aufsicht für EU-US SWIFT Abkommen |]

As on 1 August 2010 the so-called Swift agreement allowing EU citizens’ bank
data to be transferred to US is to come into force, the European Commission
will appoint an interim “technical” supervisor to oversee the searches of US
authorities on European bank transactions as part of anti-terrorist

After having initially rejected the agreement in February 2010, the European
Parliament accepted it in July 2010, imposing the appointment of an EU
supervisor who will be able to block part or all the searches conducted by
US authorities that go beyond the scope of the agreement, such as random
searches, computer filtering or algorithmic profiling.

As the procedure by which the US authorities will give clearance to the EU
independent supervisor will last at least two or three months, the EU will
appoint an interim supervisor for the time being.

“Because everything was rushed through, in the name of the ‘security gap’,
we are now facing a supervision gap. But it’s better to have someone
provisionally than nobody at all,” stated Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in’t Veld

According to Michele Cercone, spokesman for home affairs, the name of the
interim person will not be made public and the appointment is a technical
and not a political one.

While the European Commission states that the appointment will be based on
an open contest, Ms in’t Veld considers that the secrecy of the interim
appointment is a wrong approach. “We don’t want someone in the secret
service, we need transparency, to be able to ask questions. It doesn’t have
to be a terrorism fighter, the job of this person is to oversee the
implementation of the agreement. He or she should be a data protection

In fact the MEPs have formally asked that the European Parliament be
involved in the selection of
the oversight person when it gave its consent to the SWIFT II agreement:
“Invites the Commission, in compliance with Article 8 of the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which requires that
personal data be under the control of “independent authorities”, to
submit to the European Parliament and to the Council as soon as possible
a choice of three candidates for the role of the EU independent person
referred to in Article 12(1) of the Agreement”

US government declared its intention to work “very closely with the EU to
implement all aspects of the agreement, including the role of the
EU-appointed monitor.” In the meantime the technical modalities for the
Europol supervision of SWIFT requests by the US Deparment of Treasury have leaked on the Internet on 18 August 2010.

Commission official to bridge ‘supervision gap’ of Swift agreement

EP adoption of SWIFT agreement (8.07.2010)

SWIFT: Technical modalities for the Europol verification process

SWIFT: Technical modalities for the Europol verification process

EDRi-gram: SWIFT agreement adopted by the European Parliament (14.07.2010)