According to Computerworld, European authorities have supposedly found a way around European privacy laws to allow the continued sharing of air passenger personal information with American law enforcement:
Europe to continue sharing passenger records with US:
June 19, 2006 (IDG News Service) -- Two weeks after Europe’s highest court overturned a European Union agreement to share passenger data with American authorities, the European Commission has proposed a new law that does much the same as the one that was annulled.
The Commission, the Union’s executive body, agreed Monday to propose a new law that uses different legal grounds to have the same effect: it will allow European airlines to share personal information about their passengers flying to the U.S. with U.S. customs and security officials.
Normally it would be illegal under Europe-wide privacy laws for a company to share European citizens’ personal data with a country with weaker data protection laws such as the U.S. However, after the attacks of Sept.11, 2001, mounted using commercial airline flights, American authorities demanded the information.
Airlines would be fined or worse, denied landing slots by American aviation authorities if they failed to provide the information, which includes details such as name, address and credit card information. But they would be sued in Europe for breaking data protection law if they did provide the Americans with the information.
To avoid havoc in the airline industry and a potential disruption of transatlantic flights, the Commission and the 25 national governments passed a law allowing the handover of most of the information the U.S. demanded....
For a bit o' background, check out: The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: European court blocks passenger data sharing deal with US.