The Cross-Atlantic Tussle over Financial Data and Privacy Rights
Business Horizons, Vol. 56 (6): 767–778, 2013
Posted: 22 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2013
Banking is an international business; both information and capital flow relatively unimpeded across international borders. Banking institutions’ information stores have increased dramatically with the spread of computers, and these institutions protect data inside their firewalls from outside eyes, and from disaster, through establishing multiple secure data repositories. However, access to banks’ databases is increasingly sought by governments and governance institutions, and restrictions are tightening on moving data across borders. Probably the most prominent example of both trends involves European Union-domiciled cross-border banking business. A key legal reason for resulting issues hinges on differing views of privacy rights: the European Union enshrines privacy as a human right, while the United States empowers rights of free speech over privacy. These differing approaches to privacy rights have caused a cross-Atlantic conflict for global banks. Caught between competing, conflicting regulations, banks’ capacity to move information and to comply with governments’ demands for it have become restricted. This restriction is happening as governments seek increased access to banks’ information for purposes of financial information statecraft — the notion that countries can influence other governments’ policies and actions through data.
Keywords: Banking, Information Statecraft, Privacy Law, Private Financial Data, Banking ICT
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