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New York University Journal of International Law and Politics




Europe has long been deemed "more protective" of privacy than the United States. In the context of transatlantic cooperation in the war on terrorism, divergences in privacy law and policy have become ever more apparent. As has always been the case, the same technologies that pose new and vital privacy issues with regard to personal information and private data are those that are important sources for government actors, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Despite the increasing reliance by national agencies on information flowing from other nations, regulation of information transfer, processing and sharing has been achieved largely outside of the international sphere.

This Note argues that the use of personal information in the national security setting offers a new and important look at the functions and limitations of global governance in the information age. Exploring the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP), a joint initiative among European states and the United States, within the framework of Global Administrative Law (GAL), I argue that common accounts of differences between U.S. and European law on privacy issues do not explain the very real tensions at stake in the TFTP. I show that the TFTP is a real effort at constituting a soft-law mechanism to manage privacy and security in the information age, and argue that it fails to embody those values of transparency, participation, legality, and accountability to which we generally hold GAL mechanisms.

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New York University School of Law

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