The European Parliament recently rejected an agreement with the United States on sharing bank data, effectively snubbing appeals from Washington for help in counter-terrorism investigations.
A nine-month interim agreement with the USA to share data went into force provisionally at the start of the month, but some in the EU Parliament opposed it on the grounds that it failed to protect the privacy of EU citizens and Washington will now have to seek other ways to access information on money transfers in Europe.
This is great news. Details of our financial transactions are private and should never be shared with other countries. Finally someone is standing up to the disproportionate invasions of privacy and freedom which bureaucrats try to justify in the name of counter-terrorism.
I also note that this is not the first occasion in recent times that British people have been dependant on Europe to defend our liberties. The British government and courts were wrong on defendants being convicted on the evidence of absent witnesses, and the European Court was right. The British government and courts were wrong on the retention of DNA samples from innocent people, and the European Court was right. The British government and courts were wrong on random stop and search, and the European Court was right.
I for one despair of us being dependent on a Court and a Parliament which have grown from a very different jurisprudential and cultural tradition to protect our rights, and for those with a sense of British liberty and freedom it feels rather shameful, doesn't it?
By Alex Deane
Hat tip: SS