I have talked many
about the privacy concerns that I have about Europe’s and Germany’s approach to
protecting privacy: on the one side citizens have – at least theoretically – a
very strong position viz-a-viz non-governmental actors when it comes to data
ownership and controls through the Privacy Directive and the “informationelle Selbstbestimmung”. On the other hand, the state reserves the right to
arbitrarily intrude people’s lives, collect PII, and use any data source – legal or illegal
– for fighting so-called tax evasion. In my opinion, this approach is highly
hypocritical in itself, but one might argue that different cultures and
traditions may justify such laws and procedure.
However, in the current
debate about sharing SWIFT financial transaction data with the CIA Germany is crossing a line: all “major German parties” are feverishly opposing the EU Commission’s
proposed data sharing agreement with the US administration that would assist in combating
terrorism. To get this straight: Germany
happily buys stolen
financial transaction data from convicted criminals and allows this data as
evidence in legal proceedings against alleged “tax evaders”. No controversy ensues, since it only affects a few rich (i.e. successful) that “deserve” to be dispossed. Yet, there is
public uproar and another wave of blatant anti-Americanism when the US
authorities want to monitor the financing of international terrorism.
Thank you for your time – I rest my case.