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US security sees privacy sacrificed, EP concerned

brussels bureau

US security sees privacy sacrificed, EP concerned


Insiders say a new EU-US air passenger data deal is done, and the European Parliament is crying foul – because of the sensitive information the deal covers.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security agency (DHS) is not supposed to use this information but
where life is at risk exceptions can be made.

Justice official Jonathan Faul at the European Commission acknowledges the concerns:

“The protection of privacy or individual personal data is a matter of importance in the law of the US and of the EU. The problem is that we do things differently. We have different ways of protecting data and we have very different legal structures.”

The accord on Personal Name Records (PNR) is due to receive formal backing from the EU governments at the end of this month.

It will be valid for seven years, then in different status for another eight years, for use in terror probes.

The agreement criticised by the Parliament follows an interim deal reached in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

US agencies other than the DHS will have access to the 19 (or so) items of PNR data, Brussels says – but only “for the purposes of preventing and combatting terrorism and other serious crimes”.

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