EU tells USA to stop making new requests to airlines for personal passenger data



The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Mr Frits Bolstein, has written to Tom Ridge, head of the US Department of Homeland Security, asking him to stop US agencies making new demands on airlines flying there from the EU for detailed personal information (PNR data) on passengers. In a letter, dated 11 September 2003, Mr Bolkstein says that the USA had sent "several European airlines" demands for PNR data by 12 September or possibly face sanctions.

Mr Bolkstein told Tom Ridge that they:

"avoid any rise in temperature as would result from adding to existing data transfers"

Airlines flying from the EU to the USA would have "very considerable difficulties" in complying and he asks the US to put "requests on hold".

Mr Bolkstein goes on to say that any sanctions against airlines flying from the EU would make the job of reaching agreement "even more difficult".

Full-text of: Bolkstein letter to Ridge (pdf)


Statewatch coverage, analysis and documentation on the transfer of passenger data to USA

1. European Parliament report opposes giving passenger data to USA without strict data protection safeguards - and says if these are not met by 1 December all data transfers should stop: Statewatch report

2. European Commission tells USA that demands for access to data on airline passengers breaches EU Data Protection Directive - but hints at a deal that would "fudge" the issue:
Statewatch report

3. Full-text of Mr Bolkstein's speech in the European Parliament on 9 September 2003: Speech (pdf)

4. Text of Commissioner Bolkstein's letter to the USA (thanks to Edward Hasbrouck): Text

5. EU airlines allowing access to all personal details on passengers by US authorities: Report

6.. EU working party on data protection highly critical of proposed deal on US access to passenger data: Report

7. EU: Major commercial associations express strong concerns about plans for data retention: Report

8. EU: Campaign launched against the illegal transfer of European travellers' data to the USA: Report

9. Massive majority in European Parliament against deal with US on access to passenger data: Full report, resolution and amendments and verbatim debate

10. European Parliament resolution on airline passenger data gains wide support: Report

11. European Parliament committee to hold emergency session on the transfer of personal data to USA: Report

12. Direct access to personal details of EU passengers: How US Customs bounced the European Commission into a quick decision: Report

13. EU data protection chair calls for US access to passenger details to be postponed: Report

14. EU Working Party on data protection report on passenger data access by USA: Report

"it does not seem acceptable that a unilateral decision taken by a third country for reasons of its own public interest should lead to the routine and wholesale transfer of data protected under the directive"

15. US Customs to have direct access to EU airlines reservations databases: Report

16. European Commission caves in to US demands for airline and shipping passenger lists: Report

17. EU-US: US demands EU airlines and ships provide passengers list - UK is first EU government to back US scheme: Report

Google search for Statewatch's coverage of: Data protection and PNR (Passenger Name Record) (link)


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