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Home > Past Releases and Reports > Privacilla.org Joins in Release of Report on Privacy and International Information Exchange


For Immediate Release
April 3, 2002

Contact: Jim Harper

(202) 546-3701

http://www.privacilla.org

Privacilla.org Joins in Release of Report on Privacy and International Information Exchange

Report Calls for Protecting Financial Privacy while Effectively Fighting Terrorism

Washington, D.C. A hodgepodge of international information sharing programs threaten financial privacy without effectively combating terrorism, according to a report released by the Prosperity Institute's Task Force on Information Exchange and Financial Privacy. To bolster the financial component of the fight against terrorism, the United States should take the lead in forming an international Convention on Privacy and Information Exchange.

"Current U.S. policy on the sharing of financial information with other nations fails to protect the security of the American people, while damaging the financial privacy rights of individuals," said former U.S. Senator Mack Mattingly, Chairman of the Task Force. "Current safeguards are insufficient to prevent information from being used by parties hostile to U.S. security interests, or for inappropriate commercial, political, civil, tax or other purposes. An international convention on this critical issue is long overdue."

The Report recommends that the United States take the lead in forming an international Convention on Privacy and Information Exchange. The Convention would streamline and improve the exchange of information for law enforcement and anti-terrorism purposes. It would also restrict the uses that can be made of shared information, giving individuals a cause of action to enforce legal rights that protect privacy.

"The financial privacy of innocent Americans does not need to be a casualty of the war on terrorism," said Jim Harper, Editor of Privacilla.org and a member of the Task Force. "Privacy can and should be protected even while governments cooperate to fight international terrorism."

"The United States leads the way in protecting privacy, guarding civil liberties, and observing the rule of law," Harper continued. "If we leave international information policy to the bureaucracies, we will miss an opportunity to advance privacy, liberty, and national security."

Among other things, the Task Force's Report on Financial Privacy, Law Enforcement and Terrorism recommends that the U.S.:

  • Take the lead in establishing a Convention on Privacy and Information Exchange that gives individuals enforceable legal rights that protect privacy.

  • Oppose the OECD Harmful Tax Competition initiative and the creation of a United Nations International Tax Organization, both of which would provide Americans' private financial information to foreign governments.

  • Better target money-laundering laws to reduce the collection of personal financial information about innocent Americans.

The report can be downloaded at http://www.prosperity-institute.org/projects/PI-TF-Report.pdf. Members of the Task Force on Information Exchange and Financial Privacy include tax, legal, economic, and law enforcement experts from many of the nation's leading public policy organizations. The Senior Advisors to the Task Force include the Hon. Jack Kemp (former Republican Vice Presidential candidate) and the Hon. Edwin Meese, III (former U.S. Attorney General).

Privacilla.org (http://www.privacilla.org) is an innovative Web site that captures "privacy" as a public policy issue. Privacilla has been described as a "privacy policy portal" and an "online think-tank."

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