Friday, June 29, 2007

Air Data Transfer

EU and U.S. officials reached a deal on Wednesday on the transfer to the United States of private data on transatlantic air passengers for use in the fight against terrorism. The deal was reached in talks between European Union Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Details of the accord must now be approved by the EU's 27 member states, who will study it today. Under an interim agreement reached in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, European airlines must pass on up to 34 items of passenger data, including address and credit card details, to be allowed to land at U.S. airports. That deal expires at the end of July, potentially leaving airlines in a legal limbo and exposed to privacy complaints. It has been reported that data would be kept for 15 years. During the last eight years of that 15-year period, the information will only be available for access with the permission of a designated senior U.S. Homeland Security Department official. Under the interim accord, information can be held between 3-1/2 and 11-1/2 years.

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