US, EU banking data sharing deal to make people safer: Obama

Last Updated: Thursday, July 8, 2010 - 23:17

Washington: US President Barack Obama
on Thursday said the deal between the Washington and the EU to tap
into banking data for terrorism related investigations would
make people safer, as he vowed to protect privacy and civil
liberties.

Obama welcomed the decision of European Parliament to
join the Council and Commission of the European Union in
approving a revised agreement between the United States and
the European Union on the processing and transfer of financial
messaging data for the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program
(TFTP).
"The threat of terrorism faced by the United States
and the European Union continues and, with this agreement, all
of our citizens will be safer," he said.

"We look forward to the Council`s completion of the
process, allowing the agreement to enter into force on August
1, 2010, thus fully restoring this important counterterrorism
tool and resuming the sharing of investigative data that has
been suspended since January 2010," he said in a statement.

Noting that protecting privacy and civil liberties is
a top priority of the Obama Administration, he said: "We are
determined to protect citizens of all nations while also
upholding fundamental rights, using every legitimate tool
available to combat terrorism that is consistent with our laws
and principles."

The Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme allowed US
access to information from the interbank money transfer system
SWIFT, which is based in Brussels.

The US will again have access to the banking
information from August 1 after European MPs voted 484-109 in
favour of a new five-year deal that was signed by Brussels and
Washington last week.
The TFTP has provided critical investigative leads --
more than 1,550 to EU Member States -- since its creation
after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the president
said.

These leads have aided countries around the world in
preventing or investigating many of the past decade`s most
visible and violent terrorist attacks and attempted attacks,
including Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005), the
liquids bomb plot against transatlantic aircraft (2006), New
York`s John F. Kennedy airport (2007), Germany (2007), Mumbai
(2008), and Jakarta (2009), he said.

"This new, legally binding agreement reflects
significant additional data privacy safeguards but still
retains the effectiveness and integrity of this indispensable
counterterrorism program," Obama said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 8, 2010 - 23:17

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