The European Union has been told it acted illegally when it agreed to transfer details about airline passengers to American authorities.
The European Court of Justice, the bloc’s highest court, said the agreement between the US and Europe lacked an adequate legal basis.
In May 2004 a deal was done whereby European airlines would give the Americans a list of 34 different pieces of information about each passenger, including name and address, how they paid for their tickets and contact telephone numbers.
The court argues that the measure does not ensure privacy protection for European travellers. Washington claimed the information was essential to fight its war on terror.