Protecting private financial transaction data
Privacy of Economy: Your assets, inflow of funds and outflow of funds are for you to know. Authorities may only observe what is openly visible from a public area. (Pirate Wheel Principles: Privacy)
The Swiss Pirate Party has decided to that protecting private banking data is another block necessary to protect our privacy. Banking data is all the transactions on your personal bank account. It does give a lot of information and details about your personal life. Are you a guy with relationship problems? The amount of porn related purchases can be a signal. Are you an easy to convince consumer? The amount of transactions in shopping centres can be interesting. More interesting, are you spending more than you can. The shoppers don't want you to go bankrupt. They want you to come every month and consume to the limit, like good addicts.
Visa Credit card company can predict the moment you will divorce. This is interesting for them as, when you divorce, you need to pay a lot of things, lawyer, pension.. Your risk of defaulting is much higher. So they call you just before to make a special offer to pay your debts...
So what the Swiss Pirates say, is that We do not want to accept an automated transfer of private data to a state, and less to a foreign state. But this is where we are heading at in Switzerland under external and internal pressure.
We have Banking Secrecy which is protecting your personal bank account from the surveillance of the state. Of course, like with your communications, or your IP address, a judge can still access it. But he should you have a reasonable suspicion on your activities. He must act through a legal process of inquiry. We are fighting for this for the rest of our personal data, why not our financial data?
Because we don't like fraud. We wish we had an other monetary system, we wish there was no incentive for fraud or tax evasion, and we should work on it. In the mean time, we need to protect our privacy. And, in deed, we need to fight crime and fraud, strongly.
So today the choice is banking secrecy or automated transfer of banking data. Do we have an alternative?
Does the Swiss Pirates defend fraud?
No. Fraud need to be fought against like any crime. We should work on improving the fight. But we should spare citizens that did nothing wrong. Presumption of innocence should be safeguarded. Today swiss banks already have some of the toughest rules regarding fighting financial crime.
Does the Swiss Pirates defend banksters?
No. A banker that doesn't act accordingly to the law, and propose clients to assist in criminal actions should be punished for his own actions. The sanctions must be severe.
Does the Swiss Pirates defend the financial system?
No. Most Pirates believe that our financial system based on debts is not the most adapted system to the information society. It need to be more simple, crowd-sourced, fair and should not give incentive for fraud or tax evasion. But in the mean time, it should not remove citizens right for privacy.
Does the Swiss Pirates defend financial anonymity?
No. Anonymity is provided in offshore fund structures. These are to be found in Delaware, Panama, Andorra, Virgin Islands... and many others. In your bank account, each transaction is bound to your identity. It is the same with your IP address. If the State needs to tap your bank account (in a legal proceeding), it can be done. Banking secrecy does not protect criminals, only anonymity does. Anonymous bank accounts does not exist any more in Switzerland since the eighties.
Does the Swiss Pirates defend corporations engaged in tax optimisation?
No. The secrecy of financial transaction is for individuals only!
So who is the Swiss Pirates defending?
We are defending the 99% that are not committing financial fraude. All those that have "nothing to hide" but do not all realise that the aggregation of all their private data is a too powerfull tool for state control and abuse.
Why are the Swiss Pirates acting on financial privacy now?
Because our country is under attack. It is an easy target, and our government is now failing to protect its citizens. We have indeed a backlog, that we are not proud of. But now this war is going too far, and it will affect also other european countries. The US will engage soon in FATCA that will transform any bank in the world (not only swiss banks) into american tax collection agents. By default you will be all considered as US taxpayers, unless your bank proves the contrary.