Wed, Oct 18, 2006
US Officials Say It's Model Of Cooperation
The US and European
Union (EU) finally have deal. After months of haggling over
details, European airlines are now allowed to share passenger
information with US law enforcement officials -- legally.
US officials set the requirement to get passenger data such as
addresses and certain credit card information after 9/11. It may
seem Draconian, but passengers from many EU countries are allowed
to travel to the US without obtaining a visa, a sort of
hands-across-the-water deal for participating countries.
That makes it hard to track individuals coming from Europe, so
the data collection system became a de facto visa system.
As ANN reported, European
commission courts ruled the grounds under which European airlines
were supplying the data was illegal, and that put the airlines in a
Not supplying the data meant a fine from the US, but handing it
over meant breaking EU law.
Finally, the two sides have an interim agreement, one that may
serve as a model for other nations with similar issues. Under the
agreement, US law enforcement still gets access to passenger data,
but it no longer may pull that data from airline databases without
A US homeland security official stressed the non-sensitive
nature of the data. After all, he said, passengers willingly share
it with the airline, travel agents, baggage handlers and customs
US and EU officials hope to make the agreement permanent next
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