EU-US cooperation in counter-terrorism: time for SWIFT III?

Thieme, Luca Maria (2018) EU-US cooperation in counter-terrorism: time for SWIFT III? LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the legal compatibility of the establishment of an EU Terrorist Finance Tracking System with EU primary law.

Currently, financial intelligence capacities for counter-terrorism purposes are outsourced to the United States which run a Terrorist Finance Tracking Program in order to detect ‘terrorist monies’ in international bank transfers. Known as the SWIFT II Agreement, this cooperation has been praised as a valuable tool for the EU’s security and condemned for its fundamental rights intrusiveness. The thesis identifies the deficiencies of the United States’ practice as opposed to the black letter words of the Agreement. Analysing the latest EU case law on the rights to privacy and data protection, SWIFT II is scrutinised against the criteria set out by the Court of Justice of the European Union. It is argued that the transatlantic cooperation fails to meet the high standards stipulated by the Court in various ways.

From the entry into force of the Agreement, the set-up of a European system was considered as a desirable alternative in order to restore fundamental rights compliance. Whilst the idea was dismissed in 2013 due to its cost-intensity and impact on EU fundamental rights, it has been reanimated in light of the numerous terrorist atrocities on European soil during the last three years. However, the EU Commission is now heading for a complementary scheme to SWIFT II. It is submitted that a European equivalent to the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program can be modelled in conformity with the Court’s understanding of individual privacy and data protection. However, assuming that Europol was to be tasked with its operation, the thesis supports a restrictive interpretation of EU competence in matters of police cooperation and doubts that the EU could rely on the ordinary legislative procedure to do so.

Nevertheless, it is concluded that SWIFT II is practically immune to EU legal scrutiny and will perpetuate violating the rights enshrined in primary law unless renegotiated with regard to the criteria established in EU case law.

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: SWIFT, TFTP, EU TFTS, data protection, right to privacy, Digital Rights Ireland, Tele2 Sverige, EU US PNR Agreement, financial telecommunications data, terrorist financing, transatlantic data transfers, adequacy decision, shared competence, AFSJ, third pillar, Europol Joint Supervisory Body, JSB, black box, UST, Europol, social network analysis, link analysis, national security.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Geiss, Prof. Dr. Robin
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Luca Maria Thieme
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30944
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 09:34
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 14:13
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30944

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