Feeds

Brussels downbeat on US passenger snoop plan

PNR deal yet to take off

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Transatlantic talks over the US grab for European personal data in its war on terror are floundering, the European Parliament heard yesterday.

US negotiators have told the Europeans that an agreement over its demand for Passenger Name Records isn't necessary, possibly putting a deal beyond the reach of the German Presidency of the European Union.

Hans Jurgen Forster, lead negotiator for the Presidency, told a public hearing of the European Parliament last night: "A new agreement will potentially run into the Portuguese Presidency. This is something the Americans will need to be made aware of."

A combination of factors could hinder attempts to strike a deal before the current, interim PNR agreement runs out on 31 July, just a month after the Portuguese Presidency begins.

"People expected the negotiations to be difficult and they are," said Forster.

"The US doubt the need for a new PNR agreement. They even think a short extension of the existing interim agreement is unnecessary," he said.

The US wants to ditch the old agreement, which is using provisions based on the first PNR deal, signed in 2003: "The US feel that it is up to them to decide on things like data retention. They feel it is a matter of national sovereignty."

The talks would wait for the US to deliver a new set of undertakings that could be negotiated, added a European Parliament press release that detailed part of Forster's statement lost because the institution's public service broadcasting channel cut him short.

The last view the US gave of its undertakings under the old PNR agreement rode roughshod over the deal, according to the Europeans. That view, provided by Stewart Baker, assistant secretary for policy at the US Department of Homeland Security, and US lead in the talks, effectively told the Europeans that the US would treat their data how it wanted anyway.

Some members of the European Parliament, meanwhile expect that the PNR agreement will be made redundant by the Open Skies agreement for air transport, which is due to be signed in Washington on 30 April. Open Skies contains security provisions that experts at the Electronic Frontier Foundation fear might provide a legal basis for PNR and other US collations of European personal data such as its Automated Targeting System, which builds database profiles of people on its controversial watch-lists.

ATS broke the US' existing PNR agreement with Europe in ways that were remarkably similar to those items in Baker's interpretation that have irked Brussels since October, according to information supplied to the European Commission by the American Civil Liberties Union in January.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?