Feeds

EU court stomps passenger data sharing

US deal illegal, say judges

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The European Court of Justice has ruled that a deal the European Commission made with the US to allow access to passenger's personal information was illegal. The data-sharing scheme was approved by all 25 member states, but annulled by judges today.

The agreement allows authorities in the US access to airlines' Passenger Name Records (PNR) as part of the the US's self-declared War on Terror. As well as names, the files can include address, date of birth, timing and duration of trips, and other data.

After the deal was struck in May 2004, members of the European Parliament appealed to the Court of Justice. They said the commission had decided US authorities would give adequate protection to data on the basis of a directive that does not cover the issues in question.

The court agreed the directive does not allow for personal data collected for commercial or service purposes to then be used for public security purposes, since public security "falls outside the scope of community law". The council of national governments was also wrong to ratify the contract, parliamentarians argued. The court again agreed, overturning both the commission's decision, and the subsequent approval.

Judges said the deal wouldn't have to wind-up until 30 September "for reasons of legal certainty". Commissioners said they would respect the court's decision and now have four months to sort out the diplomatic mess and look for an alternative solution. The government's Information Commission has denied the UK is considering a standalone bilateral PNR-sharing scheme.

It said: "It is important that there are proper data protection safeguards surrounding the transfer of airline passenger details to foreign government authorities and we have done a lot of work with other EU data protection authorities to try to ensure adequate safeguards are in put in place."

"The decision of the European Court of Justice to annul the European Commission's data protection adequacy finding was based on technical legal issues and will have no immediate impact on the flow of passenger data or UK airlines data protection compliance."

The US side of the deal was brokered by the Department of Homeland Security. Its original statement on the arrangement is here. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.