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PNR: US takes aim at Court of Justice opinion on air traveller data
25.9.17
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The Trump administration has taken note of the recent Court of Justice opinion setting out requirements for the transfer of air passenger data from the EU to Canada and appears to be threatening to impose restrictions on EU citizens travelling to the US if limitations are placed on the transfer of personal data to US authorities.

A White House fact sheet on the latest update to the Trump administration's travel ban notes that "airline and vessel operators" must not be "impeded from providing the [US government] with information about travelling to the United States" - a statement that the writer Edward Hasbrouck has described as "a fairly blunt threat that if the European Union enforces its privacy and data protection rules with respect to US government access to airline reservations, the US will blacklist EU citizens from visiting the US".

This is because the Court of Justice of the EU recently threw a spanner in the works of the proposed EU-Canada agreement on Passenger Name Records (PNR), setting out a number of requirements for the transfer of air passenger data which will also apply to the PNR agreements the EU has in place with the US and Australia. The opinion also has significant implications for the EU's proposed Entry/Exit System, which now appears to be illegal.

See: Fact Sheet: Proclamation on Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats (The White House, link)

Edward Hasbrouck: Muslim Ban 3.0 blaimed on ICAO passport standards and “ID management” (Papers, Please!):

"Under a heading euphemistically described in the White House explainer as, “Partnership with travel industry: Ensure that the airlines and vessel operators are not impeded from providing the USG with information about people traveling to the United States,” the Executive Order includes a fairly blunt threat that if the European Union enforces its privacy and data protection rules with respect to US government access to airline reservations, the US will blacklist EU citizens from visiting the US:

'The United States expects foreign governments to provide information about … persons who seek entry to this country…. The criteria assessed in this category include … whether the country impedes the United States Government’s receipt of information about passengers and crew traveling to the United States.'

(...)

The reference in the Executive Order to whether a country “impedes the United States Government’s receipt of information about passengers” should be read as a response to this EU legal decision. The Trump Administration’s intent is to discourage other countries from enforcing treaties or laws which prohibit dragnet surveillance of travelers, by threatening travel sanctions against citizens of countries whose governments enforce human rights laws to protect travelers."

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