I welcome the defeat of the SWIFT agreement in the European Parliament. This proposal is a crude attempt to use the threat of terrorism to increase surveillance of people across Europe. It represents an attack on civil liberties, giving US agencies access to billions of financial transactions and personal information.
Those that implied we should trust the US government on this should remember that the US secret services secretly accessed these records after September 11 without even letting the EU know. For exposing this, the New York Times was then denounced by the US government, implying that they were assisting terrorists.
It is vital that personal information and civil liberties are protected from intrusions by secret agencies based in Europe or America. According to the confidential reports by Judge Bruguiere, moreover, there has been no evidence presented that even one case of terrorism has been prevented or prosecuted based on the financial data alone. Instead, it is simply another use of the threat of terrorism as a pretext to undermine civil liberties.