Privacy chiefs have given Europe’s banks a September deadline for alerting customers that their financial transactions could be tracked by US security agencies. Customers must be warned that even transactions within Europe could be monitored, they said.
The new rules come from the Article 29 Working Party, a committee of European data protection officials, and it has said that banks must inform customers when there is a danger that transactions could be monitored by authorities in the US.
The recommendation comes in the wake of a controversy over the fact that European inter-bank payment agency SWIFT was found to have allowed US authorities access to transaction details. The US claimed to need access in its counter-terrorism activities following attacks in the US on 11th September 2001. They were given access but account holders were not informed. SWIFT is a consortium owned by its member banks.
So now banks must tell customers when they’re breaking the law. I’m pretty sure there’ll be lawsuits.