July 28, 2009
In my morning rounds of reading I spotted this story on EurActiv. It relates to the passing of financial transaction information from EU member states to the United States.
I think we probably all understand the reasoning behind this – we all want to stop terrorists after all. But do we need to provide such detailed information to others to do it?
I don’t pretend to know or remember everything, but I can’t recall seeing in the news of the last few years any reports of how financial information helped prevent a terrorist or an attack. Is this information really helpful?
I’m sure that if an attack of some sort was prevented by financial information sharing that we would have been told. Governments would have saluted their efforts and used the moment as a propaganda tool as to why we should all sacrifice our privacy for the greater good. Since I cannot recall such a situation, I am prompted to ask if it has happened.
Financial privacy for individuals should be a basic right. I understand that home governments will claim rights over information to assist their tax raising capabilities, and whether you agree with that or not, it is very different to passing information around the world.
With the incredible spread of identity fraud, one of the few solid identity theft prevention methods seems to be stopping personal information from getting into the public space. Many cases have proved that employees have misused information – from post office staff, to tax inspectors, bank staff and on and on. They suffer from greed and a desire for easy, fast and anonymous money. Therefore, almost anyone is susceptible.
If governments are telling us to protect ourselves and to stop passing sensitive information to others, why do they agree to give it away to America?
I used to think that gave up so easily because of the power America wielded in the world. Sure, America is still powerful, but that power is visibly ebbing away day by day. Sure, a new President is providing a filip, but with bailouts, increased protectionism, a huge debt burden and involvement in more than one unsuccessful conflict, are they really a powerhouse anymore?
I hope that government officials involved in sending personal information around the world will realise that they are at risk as well. These officials are generally wealthier than average, do not deal with their finances personally and are easy to research online. They are a dream for an identity thief…financialguy