Monday, July 23, 2007

EU US Passenger data sharing deal

The broadsheets have finally caught up with the new deal that has been done between the US and EU on the sharing of airline passenger data. The Observer report seems to suggest that the agreement taking the information sharing way beyond the current interim agreement (and the previous agreement which caused a few problems last year after the ECJ declared the transfer of the data technically illegal)

The Observer report doesn't mention that European negotiators have claimed to have strengthened protections for the data by including a provision in the agreement that any abuses could be challenged through the US courts under US privacy laws. Though as Simon Davies and Tony Bunyan say, if the Europeans have given the US authorities an absolute right to pass the data on to any third parties, then they have lost control of the data and can have absolutely no guarantees about how the data will be used.

Now I realise that this kind of thing is mainly of interest to civil liberties geeks since the average person in the street is not going to worry too much about it. But that's the thing about the erosion of liberties. It often doesn't appear dangerous to an individual until they become the subject of an injustice directly facilitated by the absence of a protection which no longer exists.

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