Feeds

EC cuts replacement deal with US on passenger data

Data kept for 15 years

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The European Commission and US security authorities have agreed a new deal on the handover of airline passenger information. Data will now be kept for 15 years, far longer than the three-and-a-half year limit in an earlier agreement.

Passenger Name Records (PNR) are transferred to US authorities by every commercial airline flying from Europe to the US under a deal struck between the commission and the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US in September 2001.

Data protection officials have expressed concern about the deal because the US does not have as strict data protection measures as the European Union.

The first deal was ruled illegal on a technicality by the European Court of Justice and was opposed by the European Parliament. An interim deal runs out on 31 July and will be replaced by the just-approved agreement.

"The EU welcomes the new agreement which will help to prevent and combat terrorism and serious transnational crime, while ensuring an adequate level of protection of passengers' personal data in line with European standards on fundamental rights and privacy," said a statement from the European Union's Presidency, Council, and Commission.

The deal will last for seven years and actually reduces the amount of data transferred. It requires 19 pieces of data per passenger to be handed over as opposed to the 34 contained in the previous agreements.

Other parts of the deal could worry privacy activists, though. The data can be kept for seven years in an active database. It can then be kept for a further eight years in what the agreement calls "dormant, non-operational status".

The data can also be used for non-terrorism related offences as long as they take place on an international scale. "The data will be used only for the purpose of preventing and combating terrorism and related offences and other serious offences that are transnational in nature," said the EU statement.

The PNR data includes some information classified as sensitive, such as information that reveals the racial or ethnic origin, political or religious views, or health details of travellers. Though the deal says the US authorities must filter and delete this material, it also says it can be used in exceptional cases.

The EU parliament, which has opposed the transfer of PNR data, said that it had "concern" over the fact that "these data may be used by the DHS in exceptional cases".

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.