Feeds

EC cuts replacement deal with US on passenger data

Data kept for 15 years

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.