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2014-04-02    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Once upon a time, the antics of US spies in cyber space was of interest only to other spooks and to internet geeks. No longer.

Last year Edward Snowden stirred political outrage with revelations that the US National Security Agency was spying on American citizens and European officials. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, has created more furore by accusing the Central Intelligence Agency of snooping on Senate officials.
去年,爱德华•斯诺登(Edward Snowden)爆料称,美国国家安全局(National Security Agency,简称NSA)对美国公民和欧洲官员从事间谍活动,这激起了政界的愤怒。参议院情报委员会(Senate Intelligence Committee)主席黛安•范斯坦(Dianne Feinstein)指控中央情报局(CIA)对参议院官员进行间谍活动,由此掀起更大的怒潮。

But there is another area where the activities of American cyber spooks have created unexpected fallout: in financial exchanges and market data groups. Investors should watch this saga since it may have financial stability implications.

The issue revolves around the question of who can see the data generated in relation to complex securities. In decades past, information about issues such as private derivatives deals was patchy because trading records were scattered among numerous institutions and locations.

However, since the financial crisis, regulators have been trying to find ways to collate these data so that they can be easily monitored. That is sensible. After all, the reason nobody spotted the risks in institutions such as insurer AIG before 2008 was that dangerous activities fell between the cracks of reporting systems. So creating a holistic data base is a self-evidently good step as it could help regulators and investors to see where financial risks are building up.

“With the current structure of trade repositories, no authority [is] able to examine the entire global network of over-the-counter derivatives data at a detailed level,” a committee linked to the Bank for International Settlements lamented last year in a report, demanding the creation of a “joined up” database.

Indeed, the need for better monitoring seemed so self-evident after the financial crisis that US Congress created an Office of Financial Research, which is supposed to use Big Data and other computing advances to track financial flows in a holistic manner. “The financial crisis revealed serious deficiencies in our understanding of vulnerabilities in the financial system and the financial data needed to measure them,” Richard Berner, OFR head, told Congress last month. “[Our] mission is to fill in those critical gaps in analysis and data.”
的确,在金融危机爆发后,加强监控的必要性看上去如此显而易见,以至于美国国会设立了金融研究办公室(Office of Financial Research),由其利用大数据以及其他运算方面的进步,全方位监测金融流动。“金融危机暴露出,我们在理解金融体系的脆弱性以及衡量此类脆弱性所需的金融数据方面存在严重不足,”金融研究办公室主任理查德•伯纳(Richard Berner)上月告诉国会,“(我们的)使命是填补这些分析和数据的严重缺口。”

While these efforts might seem laudable, they have encountered a hitch: the US spying scandals are making European politicians and bankers more nervous about giving information to centralized databases.

These concerns first started to bubble in the European parliament in the past decade, when it emerged the US government had subpoenaed the Brussels-based Swift banking payment system to force it to hand over confidential information about financial transactions to enable the tracking of terrorists. The NSA scandal has fuelled the anger. In October, members of the European parliament passed a motion demanding that the European Commission restrict US access to the Swift system. Last week MEPs reiterated that appeal.
这种担忧在过去10年最初在欧洲议会(European parliament)出现,当时有消息称,美国政府向总部位于布鲁塞尔的银行支付系统Swift发出传唤,迫使其交出机密的金融交易信息,以便追踪恐怖分子。NSA丑闻加剧了人们的愤怒情绪。去年10月,欧洲议会议员通过一项动议,要求欧盟委员会(European Commission)限制美国访问Swift系统。上周,欧洲议会议员重申了这一呼吁。

And, while the commission has not yet acted, the anger is making it harder to promote data-sharing in other areas such as derivatives.

The net result, then, is that those databases remain as fragmented as ever. “The financial crisis demonstrated the need for financial supervisors to get a holistic view,” says Kay Swinburne, a British MEP who sits on the chamber’s influential economic and monetary affairs committee. “Sadly [this] may be in jeopardy. The NSA scandal has caused many to reassess the risks of their personal data being shared across borders.”
结果是这些数据库仍像以往那样处于割裂状态。“金融危机说明了金融监督机构获得全方位视角的必要性,”英籍欧洲议会议员、欧洲议会有影响力的经济和货币事务委员会委员凯•斯温伯恩(Kay Swinburne)表示,“遗憾的是,(这件事)可能面对变数。NSA丑闻促使很多人对自己的个人数据被跨境分享的风险进行重新评估。”

Could this be fixed? European politicians still hope so, perhaps if the EU and the US sign a data protection agreement as part of a transatlantic trade deal. In the meantime, OFR officials keep chasing their transparency dream in other ways. They are trying, for example, to force banks to use standardized legal entity identifiers, or “tags” that mark financial securities, like bar codes, to make them easy to track).

But do not expect those efforts to bear fruit soon. While the advent of Big Data has created the tantalizing vision of a more transparent financial system, the grubby reality of Big Geopolitics has turned this into a mirage. It is an irony not even Mr Snowden could have foreseen.

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