The great Passenger Name Record sell out
Uncle Sam turns Open Skies dark
Analysis As you pack your bags and plot your escape from the miserable British "summer" we're having this year: the security - long or short term - of your personal travel data is probably the last thing on your mind. And thanks to a much trumpeted deal between the EU and the US, even if it was a consideration in your travel plans, it is now out of your hands.
Last month, a settlement was reached in the long-running dispute between the US and the EU over sharing financial and travel data. The decision has generally been presented as a success for the EU in moderating the US's demands for data. A closer look at the situation with respect to travel data tells a different story.
The data in question takes the form of what are known as "PNRs" – the passenger name records that are generated when a travel booking (flight, hotel, car rental) is made. The exact information contained in these varies, but it typically includes identifying information about both the traveller and the person or agency who bought the ticket and the itinerary. But they may contain a considerable amount of additional information, such as who in a company is allowed which perks, and whether or not a traveller is authorised to use the company limo.
Privacy advocates, in particular Edward Hasbrouck, a San Francisco-based expert on the travel industry, have maintained for a long time that travel data, more than many other types of data, is particularly sensitive. Your travel records can reveal who you travel with and how often, how many beds you sleep in (and therefore your sexuality), who buys your travel tickets, and sometimes even, through the special meals you order, your medical condition or religion. A government couldn't ask these things directly without creating a public outcry. But, Hasbrouck also notes, PNRs may reveal considerable information about third parties, such as the company or agency employees who buy your ticket.
Despite the EU's data protection laws, which require data processors to show us our files and give us the chance to issue corrections, it can be very difficult to get a look at your PNR data. Even if you do, it can be difficult to understand. Last year, I tested this out by asking US Airways and Galileo, the customer reservations service it used to handle data, for a look at my PNR. Galileo responded promptly by post with a copy of the information. US Airways itself, however, refused to show anything beyond a simple receipt for the ticket and said: "Because of security concerns the PNR is a company document not released to passengers." The company ignored further communications. The third parties whose data is included in such records are even less likely to get anywhere.
The agreement announced last week will do nothing to change this situation.
"The recent agreement is a complete con," says Gus Hosein, a Fellow at the London School of Economics and of Privacy International. Despite negotiators' claims that they had protected the rights of Europeans by reducing the number of data fields demanded from 34 to 19, "what the Americans and Europeans cunningly did is dupe the entire population by taking the list of 34, dropping two, and then taking less lines on the page. They merged items on one line".
Beyond that, the agreement allows the US to use the data for purposes other than fighting terrorism and lets the US keep the data for at least seven years, possibly 15. "It could even go beyond that." It was, he says, "a failure of the entire process. Europeans have no clue how to negotiate with Americans."
Next page: Lock, stock and two smoking passports
Of course it was to our advantage to have a peaceful, democratic Europe. It was to your advantage too. And we didn't need to negotiate for it, we could have just taken it by not leaving in 1955 We could have put up a wall.. How is that standard of living you have over there? Enjoying it?
Now you just need to work on that 'melting pot' you have going over there. Some people don't seem to be mixing in quite right. They're a bit angry. Until you do, we'll need to know who your sending over here.
We're still trying to fix the European colonial mess left in Central and South America. Sorry it will take some time. We might not always get it right, but neither did you.
Bosnia and Serbia had been problems for 80 years before we stepped in. Remember the European 'war to end all wars"? In the European tradition of doing nothing but talk, I guess we should have waited another century. Well, its all better now, your welcome. Yes, people died. But people died because Europe let it drag on and get to that point.
Yankee go home
>But in our crazy foreign policy we spent a lot of money rebuilt Europe, and we
And you negotiated very nice access to those markets and took over management of the western colonial assets in exchange. The idea that it was all an altruistic endeavor might well sold but it was never actually true.
>got democracies going in a place that new only monarcies, dictators and wars for over 10 centuries.
really? what countries would those be? I think all the countries in South and Central America would beg to differ on this one. You know, the places where CIA trained torturers and death squads roamed freely and democratically elected governments are only democratically elected if they are subservient to u.s. interests. You can't actually name a country that was brought democracy by the u.s. can you? You guys are well known for your friendly relations with such esteemed democracies as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.
>Well, not bad work if you ask me. We even had to straighten out yet another European genocide in Bosnia a few years ago. You guy really can't get your shit together can you?
says the guy from the country who's bombing of Serbia caused more deaths than any so called genocide. It had been well established that there was no genocide and all the refugees were created after NATO forces attacked. Just like Afghanistan and Iraq the military incursions by the u.s. are never helpful and always worse than the cause.
>We are alway to the first country you blame, and also the first country you ask to help you.
now that is a load of hogwash. Most countries in the world would be happy with a little less "help" from you fuckers.
Do you need a visa
"Are you sure you meen Visa and not Passport? I do know there have been alot of people getting stroppy in the EU because most EU countrys dont requier a passport for entry but the UK do. A Visa for entry of an EU citizen into the UK hasent been neded for years"
Click 'do I need a visa' on the left.
Purpose of visit: 'Family member (Non EEA) of an EEA or Swiss citizen'.
Country of Nationality: Phillipines
Current location: France
The EEA Family permit they ask for is a visa under a different name.
You apply online, then go get your fingerprints and biometrics recorded by CSC in Marseille, then go book an appointment with the Embassy in Paris, then she goes for an interview in Paris, finally she gets a visa which she goes to collect another day.... then she can go on her day trip to the UK if she wants, the visa is only valid 1 trip.
2004/38/EC abolished this nonsense. Spouses of EU citizens can use their residents permit as a visa equivalent. Britain is currently playing dumb regarding 2004/38/EC.