April 20, 2012
Controversial moves giving European air passenger information to America were approved by MEPs despite warnings over breaches of privacy.
More than 400 MEPs backed the Passenger Name Records (PNR) agreement – but 226 opposed an accord they claim is not in line with EU data protection requirements.
Tory MEP and keen PNR supporter Timothy Kirkhope said the deal ensured information on terrorists and other serious criminals could be passed to the U.S., but under strict conditions.
New Air Passenger Data Deal Approved By Europeans
April 20, 2012
WASHINGTON — Two years after the formal expiration of a controversial Bush-era pact requiring air passenger data be handed over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a deeply divided European Parliament approved a new agreement Thursday with tighter protections but just as many concerns over privacy.
In a vote of 409 in favor, 226 opposed and 33 abstentions, the European Union’s governing body approved the Passenger Name Record agreement with the United States. Many who voted against the PNR pact contend that the new rules, like the ones they replace, violate civil liberties and privacy protections.
The latest agreement replaces a 2007 pact, which was reworked by Obama administration officials and their European counterparts to address lingering concerns about privacy and data protection more than a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Once the agreement goes into effect next week, it will stay in force for seven years.
The agreement applies to the 22 million Americans, Europeans and others who cross the Atlantic annually and account for more than $72 billion in trade a year.