ACLU letter to EU Commissioner Bolkestein - Northwest Airlines Privacy Violations
Barry Steinhardt, Director, Technology and Liberty Program of the American Civil Liberties Union has sent the following letter to EU Commissioner Bolkestein:
January 21, 2004
Re: Northwest Airlines Privacy Violations
European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Taxation and Customs Union
B - 1049 Brussels (Belgium)
Dear Commissioner Bolketein:
We are writing to report what may have been a violation of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 24 regarding the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.
Northwest's acknowledgement of this set of facts appears on their web site at http://www.nwa.com/corpinfo/newsc/2004/pr011820041268.html.
The disclosure of this personal data is in clear violation of Articles 6 and 7 of Directive 95/46/EC. This data was processed in a manner that is inconsistent with the purpose for which it was collected (Article 6 (1)(b)) and no effort was made to assure the data's accuracy (Article 6 (1)(d)). Most importantly, no consent was either solicited or granted for the use of this private data (Article 7).
In light of what may have been serious and long term violations of Directive 95/46/EC we suggest that you may wish to conduct an investigation of Northwest's information collection and dissemination practices, full notification to all individuals effected by this disclosure and the imposition of all appropriate civil penalties.
We also believe that this latest revelation calls into question the ability of the US to honor any promises made regarding the transfer of air passenger data. Sadly, our privacy laws are rather primitive and the unrelated uses of private data are prohibited in Europe occur far too often.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.
Technology and Liberty Program of the American Civil Liberties Union
Cc: Peter J. Hustinx
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