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Parliamentary questions
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28 March 2012
Question for written answer E-003325/2012
to the Commission
Rule 117
Franz Obermayr (NI)

 Subject: SWIFT agreement leads to the disclosure of sensitive private bank data
 Answer in writing 

According to reports in the media, the extremely contentious SWIFT agreement, which allows US authorities to check the bank data and transactions of EU citizens, has now become a genuine data leak. The relevant data protection measures are not being adhered to, or at least not in sufficient measure. So far the Joint Supervisory Body of Europol has answered every inquiry from the US authorities, even though required information, such as data volume, was not specified by the US. This leads critics to question the suitability of Europol as a supervisory body and to accuse the EU of completely inadequate political control. Inspectors drew attention to this problem a year ago. A new inspection report reinforces this criticism.

This gives rise to the following questions:

1. How many inquiries have been made by US bodies to date?
2. What circumstances allowed US authorities to have access to information about payment transactions within Europe for several weeks due to a data leak?
3. What steps is the Commission considering taking to protect EU citizens from having their bank data arbitrarily accessed by US authorities?
4. Is the Commission considering introducing an independent supervisory body instead of Europol?
5. Are there any plans to set up a watchdog to monitor the supervisory body? If not, why not?
6. When did the Commission first become aware that the conditions concerning the sharing of information have not been adhered to by Europol?
7. Why were the inquiry guidelines not adhered to?

Original language of question: DEOJ C 124 E, 30/04/2013
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