Thursday, May 8, 2008

Disclosure of passenger data to Government Authorities

On 30th May 2006, The European Court of Justice blocked the EU-US agreement under which European airlines supplied authorities information on passengers entering the United States. It gave the EU four months until 30th September to find a solution "for reasons of legal certainty". During this period, most airlines have continued to send the US authorities the items of personal information regarding passengers on board all US bound aircraft.
We understand today that the European Union and the US have struck a new deal for sharing airline passenger data. US officials will now only be able to access data by having information "pushed" from airline computer systems. Information will be sent to the US Department of Homeland Security, which will facilitate any wider distribution among other US counter-terrorism agencies. Whilst the new deal allows easier distribution of data, it does not permit unconditional direct electronic access by agencies such as the FBI.

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