Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Australian banks in the dark about US monitoring

The hot privacy issue this week has been the revelation by the New York Times that a secret US Government program has been monitoring international banking transactions conducted through a bank cooperative program SWIFT based in Belgium. President Bush has criticised the revelation as "disgraceful" and defended the program as legal and essential in the ‘war on terror’. The Times has said it was in the public interest to reveal it and quoted unnamed bank and government officials expressing concern about the program, initially a temporary measure, and now running into its 5th year.

Australia's big four banks are members of SWIFT. Today’s Australian Financial Review “CIA pulls a swifty on banks” says that Australian banks were unaware that international transactions may have been monitored by the US, and while the US Government had notified the central banks of 9 countries about the program, the Australian Reserve Bank was not aware of the traces.

Australian international banking transactions have long been monitored by the Government's Austrac, in connection with money laundering. However its news that the US Government has possibly been monitoring our transactions as well.

The European Union and the Belgian Government have apparently been in the dark. As for the Australian Government ….

In the US this development, following weeks of reports about other privacy intrusions, has prompted Congressional efforts to introduce a national comprehensive privacy law - this article captures the essence.

No comments:

Post a Comment