SWIFT headquarters in La Hulpe.
The civil liberties committee in the European Parliament on Thursday recommended that the parliament’s MPs reject a deal that would allow U.S. authorities to continue accessing information held by a Brussels-based international money transfer system.
Since shortly after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. in 2001 the authorities in Washington have reportedly had unrestricted access to information held by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).
According to the London Times the U.S. has argued that it needs the information held by SWIFT to enable it to identify those financing international terrorism.
However the BBC reports that the fact the U.S. was able to access the SWIFT data, and was indeed accessing it secretly, did not become known until five years after the 9/11 attacks.
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