EU Parliament wants to halt air passenger data transfer to US
- EU Commissioner, Mr Bolkestein hoping for "deal" derogating from EU data protection standards to allow USA access

On Thursday 9 October the European Parliament plenary session adopted a highly critical report on the passing over of data on airline passengers to the USA. The parliament's Resolution calls for an imediate halt to the data transfers and for the issue to be resolved by 1 December or face an action takne to the European Court of Justice: Full-text of Resolution (pdf)

Interviewed by Reuters news agency on 9 October Mr Bolkestein, the Internal Market Commissioner, said that: "At the moment we are in a situation of doubtful legality". He went on to say that a solution to the matter could be the signing of a transatlantic treaty on data flow that contains derogations from EU privacy rules for the United States - this is the "solution" he had told the European Parliament was on the table because EU governments were divided over whether or not to enforce EC law.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments:

"The European Parliament has rightly made a strong stand and backed the call of International Data Protection Commissioner for an international agreement which respect EU standards. The current position of the Commission is untenable, we are being told yet again that EU standards need to be tailored to the demands of US agencies. The Commission should be telling the USA that EU data protection standards are not negotiable - if they want access to data they have to adopt a comparable law of their own to protect the rights of EU and US citizens alike from misuse."

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

For full coverage and documentation please see Statewatch's: Observatory on PNR

1. European Parliament report to committee 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

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

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

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