EU: Council and Commission knew of US "Automated Targeting System" since September 2005

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Council Presidency admits that the Council of the European Union (25 governments) and the European Commission have known about the US's "Automated Targeting System" (ATS) profiling all visitors since "September 2005": Full-text of EU Presidency statement to the European Parliament (pdf). The ATS issues computer-generated risk-scores in related to terrorism and crime on everyone going in and out of the USA for at least four years - this can result in refusal to allow travel, questioning, searches and surveillance

The ATS came to public attention in the USA when the Homeland Security Department posted a Notice on the Federal Register in November 2006 - showing that "targeting" extended beyond cargo to people. US General Accountability Office report on cargo The Federal Notice shows that Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on travellers from the EU is included in the ATS together with data from public and private sources. Moreover it states that ATS data can be shared with a multitude of federal, state and local agencies and foreign governments. The Homeland Security Department also issues a: Privacy Impact Assessment for the Automated Targeting System on 22 November 2006.

US privacy and civil liberties groups in the USA says that the ATS is illegal. Travellers are not allowed to see their records nor can they "contest the contents": Comments of 30 organisations and 16 experts (pdf)

See also: Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA (link)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The EU Presidency statement that the Council and Commission have know about the ATS for over a year is quite extraordinary. During this period they renegotiated the EU-USA PNR agreement claiming it was on the same terms as that agreed in 2004 when they clearly knew it was not. The Council and the Commission knew about it but did nothing until the existence of the ATS was made public and now they have asked for "clarification". What is required is the suspension of the PNR agreement until the situation is clarified".

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