Monday, July 09, 2007

EU US deal extends American Privacy Act to European passengers

Apparently European and American authorities have reached a deal on the transmission of airline passenger information. The deal involves extending US Privacy Act protection to European passengers' data:

U.S. Privacy Act to cover EU citizens - Yahoo! News

....Differences over how to balance security needs with concerns over passengers' privacy led to protracted negotiations after a 2004 deal on data sharing was voided by an EU court last year for technical reasons.

Under the new deal, the number of pieces of information transferred to U.S. authorities will be reduced from 34 to 19 — although critics say this is only because some categories of data will be merged.

Data can be kept for a maximum of 15 years. But after the first seven years, data will become "dormant" and can only be accessed on a case-by-case basis under strict rules.

Currently, a maximum of 34 pieces of recorded data — such as passenger names, addresses, seat numbers and credit card and travel details — are transferred to U.S. authorities within 15 minutes of a flight's departure for the United States under Washington's anti-terror screening rules.

The current agreement allows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to disclose so-called Passenger Name Records to other U.S. law enforcement agencies for use in anti-terror investigations if those agencies have data protection standards comparable to the EU's legal demands.

EU governments are to give a final, formal endorsement to the deal later this months after they get the green light from the national parliaments.

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