The Independent reports:
Flights to US at risk after secrecy ruling By Stephen Castle in Brussels Published: 31 May 2006
A deal allowing airlines to hand over confidential passenger data to the United States has been struck down by Europe's highest court, in a move which could result in chaos for transatlantic air travel.
The decision came after complaints that an agreement allowing American officials access to 34 different pieces of passenger information - from credit card details to phone numbers - breaches personal privacy.
The European Court of Justice yesterday threw out the deal, negotiated to satisfy US anti-terror measures, objecting to its legal basis. The court gave the European Union until 30 September to find an alternative solution, leaving officials with a desperate race against the clock to try to resolve the legal muddle.
Just to remind our readers what sort of data the "34 fields" in the Passenger Name Record contain, see our 2 year old posting EU Commission betrays Passenger Name Record data privacy to USA despite EU Parliament for more details of the abbreviations etc.:
- PNR record locator code
- Date of reservation
- Date(s) of intended travel
- Other names on PNR
- All forms of payment information
- Billing address
- Contact telephone numbers
- All travel itinerary for specific PNR
- Frequent flyer information (limited to miles flown and address(es))
- Travel agency
- Travel agent
- Code share PNR information
- Travel status of passenger
- Split/Divided PNR information
- Email address
- Ticketing field information
- General remarks
- Ticket number
- Seat number
- Date of ticket issuance
- No show history
- Bag tag numbers
- Go show information
- OSI information
- SSI/SSR information
- Received from information
- All historical changes to the PNR
- Number of travelers on PNR
- Seat information
- One-way tickets
- Any collected APIS information
- ATFQ fields
If this data is supposedly of use in the global "war against terrorism", then surely the same data on all US citizens who are travelling to European Union destinations, should also be supplied by the airlines or the Department of Homeland Security to the United Kingdom and other European Union governments ?
Why is this not being done on an equal, reciprocal basis ?
Or is this already being done, but in secret ?
What proof is there that any of this data is actually of any use in preventing real terrorist attacks ?
Remember that the September 11th 2001 hijackers did not use transatlantic flights coming into the USA having used up most of their fuel, but domestic flights.