The SWIFT scandal calls into question Gordon Brown's supposed anti-terrorist finance plans, announced in his "Bletchley Park Enigma codebreaking effort" speech to the Royal United Services Institute on February 13th 2006.
The risks of "insider dealing" and fraud and the loss of financial confidence, far outweigh the paltry effect on terrorist financing, which the betrayal of the SWIFT data seems to have resulted in.
Notices given on Friday 14 July
- Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what agreements exist between the Government and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. (86453)
- Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether tracking financial transactions involving British citizens by counter-terrorism officials, through the SWIFT programme has been legally reconciled with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998.
- Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many financial transactions have been tracked (a) in total and (b) by counter-terrorism officials using the SWIFT programme in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement.
- Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many UK bank accounts have been frozen by his Department (a) as a counter-terrorism measure and (b) for other reasons as a result of financial transactions tracked using the SWIFT programme in each year since 1997.
- Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, to what UK financial regulation the SWIFT programme is subject.
- Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions the Government has had with its US counterparts to ensure the privacy of UK citizens who may have had their financial transactions viewed as part of American counter-terrorism investigations in conjunction with SWIFT.
Will the Chancellor attempt to pretend that he cannot comment on "intelligence matters" or will he actually give some try to bolster confidence in SWIFT and the UK financial industry ?
Privacy International have filed data protection complaints in 30 or so countries, and have written an Open Letter to the CEO of SWIFT
The European Parliament has passed a motion asking for investigations to determine just what the "collateral damage" to innocent people's private financial data might be, as a result of the US authorities pressuring the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. (SWIFT) to simply give full access to the US intelligence agenices to the millions of international financila transactions, until even SWIFT started to demand some limit and oversight to the massive data trawling exercise, in the USA, which also sucked in United Kingdom financial data.
Since financial communications systems like SWIFT are heavy users of Encryption for confidentiality and of Digital Signatures, for message authentication, this scandal also has ramifications for the Public Consultation on RIPA Part III, which specifically calls for the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority to be notified, prior to any demands for Encryption Keys, from regulated financial companies and institutions.
However, the US Government claimed that SWIFT was not such a regulated financial institution, even though its owners, members and users are, and so their actions were exempt from US financial privacy laws.
This situtation must be clarified and rectified here in the United Kingdom, ideally by a statement from the Chancellor Gordon Brown.