Saturday

22nd Feb 2020

EU questions US over new air data system

  • Air travel: will the US play by agreed rules on passenger data? (Photo: Wikipedia)

The European Union has sent a letter asking US authorities to clarify how its new traveller security-screening system will use data on European citizens, with senior officials expressing concern it might violate an EU-US deal on data-protection.

The deal, agreed in October, gives the US department of homeland security (DHS) easier access to EU citizens' passenger name records (PNR) via air carriers, but puts limits on how that information can be used.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The personal records transferred by transatlantic air carriers 15 minutes before departure contain 34 pieces of data, including credit card, passport details, e-mail addresses and travel itinerary.

EU justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini said Wednesday (13 December) alarm bells rang when the DHS last month published information about its automated targeting system (ATS) – a computer intranet that assesses risk on international travellers, relying among other things on PNR data.

"We have sent today a letter to the US government to ask formal confirmation that the way European PNR data are handled in the ATS is the one described in the undertakings," Mr Frattini told European lawmakers meeting in Strasbourg.

"The information published by the DHS reveals a significant difference between the way in which PNR data are handled within the automated targeting system and a stricter regime for European PNR data according to undertakings," he added.

The European Commission and Finland – the current holder of the EU's six-month rotating presidency – jointly sent the letter on Wednesday.

The letter asks for clarification in "particular with regards to data-retention times, the release of data to third parties and purpose limitation," Finnish European Affairs minister Paula Lehtomäki said in Strasbourg.

The current EU-US agreement on PNR will expire in July 2007. However, the plan is to have more permanent plans in place by that time with efforts already underway to start controversial talks on the sharing of private data of EU citizens with US authorities.

Brussels to fight for EU passenger privacy on US flights

EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini has said he will push for a reduction in the amount of air passengers' data provided to the US, as efforts are under way to update a controversial EU-US data sharing agreement.

Insight

How big is Germany's far-right problem?

The Hanau shooting was a national wake-up call to the scale of far-right extremism in Germany, from violent individuals to political hate speech.

Exclusive

Balkan spies 'feed' EU's police database via Czechs

Western Balkan secret services have handed over more the 250 alerts on suspected foreign terrorist fighters since last summer - fed into the EU's police database by the Czech Republic, according to a confidential document seen by EUobserver.

New EU public prosecutor has four staff for 3,000 cases

Laura Kovesi who heads the new European Public Prosecutor's Office, tasked to tackle fraud linked to VAT, money laundering, and corruption across the EU, warned she is dangerously understaffed and underfunded.

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not ok, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us