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Minister of Justice Brax to visit the United States

Ministry of Justice
6.9.2010 8.39
Press release -

Finnish Minister of Justice Tuija Brax will visit Washington, the United States, on 6–10 September. She will meet with Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States. The Minister and the Attorney General will discuss, among other things, data protection questions relating to the transfer of international banking data and air passenger data from the EU Member States to the United States. The EU Member States transfer the data in question for the prevention of terrorism and terrorist financing.

The so-called SWIFT agreement concerning the transfer of international banking data entered into force in July. The agreement aims at ensuring an adequate level of protection of personal data in data transfers.

At the moment, negotiations for a mutual data protection agreement between the EU and the US are about to be started. The agreement would concern judicial cooperation in criminal matters and contain general principles concerning processing of personal data that should always be complied with when transferring personal data. The Finnish legislation provides that citizens shall have a right of access to the data on them and a right to have any erroneous data rectified.

Minister Brax will also meet Anthony M. Kennedy, the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss, for example, the precedent relating to the election campaign funding issued by the Supreme Court in January.

In addition, Minister Brax will meet representatives of the State Department, the Department of the Treasury and civic organisations. She will acquaint herself with the projects relating to the openness of the public administration, which have notably progressed in the United States along with President Barack Obama's policy emphasizing open and transparent administration. One example on the advanced technology is the common web portal of the administration,www.usa.gov, which provides various easy-to-use e-services as well as public information for citizens.

The discussion topics during the visit will also include, for example, the activation of voters in connection with President Obama's election campaign, prevention of organized crime and terrorism, as well as the impacts of the counter-terrorism activities on the citizens' fundamental rights.

Further information: Johanna Suurpää, Director, tel. +358 9 1606 7800
Anu Santaharju, Political Adviser, tel. +358 9 1606 7520

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