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E.U. Preps for Fight over Passenger Data 51

Posted by timothy
from the honestly-what's-the-[redacted]-that-could-happen? dept.
narramissic writes "Following last week's signing of a new temporary agreement to pass over airline passenger data to American authorities last week, European Union parliamentarians are gearing up for a fight over data privacy. Sylvia Kaufmann, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), commented that 'The fact that the CIA, an agency whose activities, torturing and kidnapping, this house is investigating in a special committee, will have access to passenger data is the real scandal, especially when one considers that the right of redress held by U.S. citizens is not extended to E.U. citizens.'"
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E.U. Preps for Fight over Passenger Data

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:19PM (#16409769) Homepage Journal
    ...which might make this data thing seem like childs play.

    Theres an article currently on the BBC about possibly tagging passengers [bbc.co.uk] during flights and around the airport.

    Come in number 5, your time is up.
  • Sylvia Kaufmann, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), commented that 'The fact that the CIA, an agency whose activities, torturing and kidnapping ...

    I'm struggling to understand her opening position on this matter (or why such a blatantly pointed statement is considered "news for nerds").
    • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:31PM (#16409937) Homepage Journal
      "why such a blatantly pointed statement is considered "news for nerds""

      As a nerd/geek, let me tell you that I object to having my digital, or real life rights trampled on so that I can be legally tortured. Heard of Maher Arar? If not, you may want to look that name up and see what the American government did to him based on faulty intelligence shared with them after he was pulled off a plane in New York.
      • Who cares about Maher Arar, or any one particular person? He's an ay-rab, for God's sake, he would suffer even worse in his home country!

        So a few people have to suffer for the good of all. I'd rather be safe than free!

        (Come on, you know that's what the ignorant rabid right's going to say in response to this, lol!)
        • by Homology (639438) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:41PM (#16410097)
          > So a few people have to suffer for the good of all. I'd rather be safe than free!

          Those saying that always means that someone else has to suffer. The notion of self-sacrifice does not occur to them.
          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Ben Franklin
        • So a few people have to suffer for the good of all. I'd rather be safe than free!

          But who are you to make that decision for me? I'd prefer to be free and endangered. Life's dangerous. It usually ends lethal. And I prefer to spend the time 'til then in freedom.
        • by demigod (20497)

          He's an ay-rab, for God's sake, he would suffer even worse in his home country!

          That's true, he's Canadian.

          Well, at least those poor bastards can look forward to global warming.

          • I know you're probably joking, but on the chance you're not, Canadians are actually quite concerned about climate change. Our government may not act like it though because it's currently run by either Ontario-industry Liberals, or Alberta-oil patch Conservatives who feel any change to the pollution-economy will damage their province. Our economy depends on the weather, so when the weather changes, odds are everything will crash.
    • Biased or not, the part saying

      ...especially when one considers that the right of redress held by U.S. citizens is not extended to E.U. citizens...

      is, to me, the real killer. Not only should our info (as collected by our governments or their representatives) be given to someone not under the control of our own governments, we will also have no rights with regards to the collected information once it reaches the other party.

      I think it is a very Good Thing (tm) that the EU is trying to fight this.
    • by Homology (639438) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:38PM (#16410063)
      > I'm struggling to understand her opening position on this matter (or why such a blatantly pointed statement is considered "news for nerds").

      Don't you think that handing out private information to an organization known for torturing and kidnapping people is outragous? Especially since EU citizens have no legal protection at all from US abuse of power?

      To make it even more pointed, she could have mentioned that the organization is also running secret prisons around the world.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:51PM (#16410225) Journal
      I'm struggling to understand her opening position on this matter (or why such a blatantly pointed statement is considered "news for nerds").
      Since when is the truth considered a political statement?

      P.S. This falls under the category of "Stuff that matters"
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @12:34PM (#16409981) Journal
    especially when one considers that the right of redress held by U.S. citizens is not extended to E.U. citizens.

    Oh well, in that case there's no problem, since the Republicans [senate.gov] are taking that right away [loc.gov] from US Citizens [blogspot.com]. Now all the DoD has to do is declare you an enemy combatant and there is no proof, no trial, no appeals, and no redress.
    • Out of interest, how is that ever going to fly given your Constitution? I can easily believe the legal weasels can trample on the rights of non-US citizens captured outside US soil. I can believe without too much difficulty that they can trample on the rights of non-US citizens captured on US soil; certain areas of the US political system have always suffered from the strange contradiction that it's an important principle to protect basic rights for US citizens, but they're not important for anyone else. Bu

      • by Qzukk (229616)
        Pretty easily, actually. All the administration has to do is the same thing they did with Jose Padilla, hold the person for years, then when the Supreme Court finally gets around to taking notice, appear to cave in (note that Padilla has yet to have his promised trial) before the Supreme Court actually gets to decide whether this is legit or not.
      • Easily. By simply not giving you a trial. It's hard to say "no" to a gun barrel. You're grabbed, swiped and hauled to Gitmo. No appeal, no trial, no lawyers, no phone call. Anyone from another banana republic can give you the details in case you need them.

        Having a certain "right" to something doesn't mean that you get it if people with the bigger guns don't agree.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @01:36PM (#16410877) Homepage Journal
        You bring up a good point, and it's not brought up very often.

        The success of these measures in passing both Congress and the American public in general, lie in that they're perceived as only being applicable to non-citizens.

        The Administration tried for a while to assert that it had the authority to detain citizens as "enemy combatants," as in the case of Jose Padilla, but it pretty much has given up this angle. (They more or less threw in the towel and transferred him to Federal prison on conventional charges on the eve of when the USSC might have ruled against it.) They could certainly try doing it again, since no precendent was really set as a result of Padilla, but I suspect that there would be significant public outcry and the opinion of the courts would be rather dim.

        Although you make fun of the "strange contradiction" of applying the Constitution only to citizens, I think that's a more popular interpretation than you think. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that it's not the correct one; I think the Constitution is pretty clear in outlining a relationship between citizens of the United States and their government. The relationship between foreigners and the USG should be goverened by the relationship between the foreign government and the U.S. government, hopefully in some sort of friendly, reciprocal fashion (e.g. 'protect our citizens when on your soil, and we'll protect your citizens while they're here'). If the foreign government doesn't like it, they can always bar their citizens from traveling to the United States, or declare war, or do any of the other things that soverign states do for relief against each other. At any rate, that interpretation of the Constitution isn't quite as outlandish as you make it seem -- it wouldn't surprise me if there were at least some Federal judges who espouse it, however quietly or academically.

        Understanding this and taking it into account, I think helps make the response of the American public to the jurisprudential wranglings of the Bush administration more understandable. (Whether you agree with them or not is none of my business, but even if you disagree, understanding can be constructive.) So long as the new rules don't apply to U.S. citizens, the public outcry is limited. The electorate, while not particularly bright, is not quite so stupid as pundits on both the right and the left often make it out to be; they are basically self-interested, more than a trifle xenophobic, and there have been precious few arguments so far showing exactly how the new rules will negatively impact a basic white, middle-class, English-speaking, law-abiding, Christian family. Therefore, why should they care?

        Talking about the Constitutional rights of foreigners -- or even making moral appeals about not torturing foreigners -- is not going to and has not impressed a great many Americans, and this is why I think there is not more widespread opposition to the policies of the Bush administration. Show, clearly and unequivocally, how these policies could be used against a typical red-state ethnic and religious majority, and you'd probably spark a change in government overnight.
        • Although you make fun of the "strange contradiction" of applying the Constitution only to citizens, I think that's a more popular interpretation than you think. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that it's not the correct one; I think the Constitution is pretty clear in outlining a relationship between citizens of the United States and their government.

          Indeed. I understand that your Constitution was intended, in essence, to limit the powers of your government with respect to your people. However, that

        • by Ihlosi (895663)
          Although you make fun of the "strange contradiction" of applying the Constitution only to citizens, I think that's a more popular interpretation than you think. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that it's not the correct one; I think the Constitution is pretty clear in outlining a relationship between citizens of the United States and their government.

          Oddly enough, the whole citizenship thing wasn't defined until much later. If the constitution says "No person ...", it doesn't mean "No citizen ...", and

      • by mgblst (80109)
        I can easily believe the legal weasels can trample on the rights of non-US citizens captured outside US soil.
         
        This is how it can happen. Because you have no problem believing this, then can just about do anything.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Oh well, in that case there's no problem, since the Republicans [senate.gov] are taking that right away [loc.gov] from US Citizens [blogspot.com]. Now all the DoD has to do is declare you an enemy combatant and there is no proof, no trial, no appeals, and no redress.

      Which, hopefully, will last about an hour before someone files an injunction against it, and the courts quickly decide that it's unconstitutional.

      There is no mechanism by which the US government can pass a law that reduces the constitutional rig

      • by idontgno (624372)

        You can't fight tyranny by becoming a tyrant.

        History claims it worked for Abraham Lincoln:

        Habeas corpus was suspended on April 27, 1861, during the American Civil War by President Lincoln in Maryland and parts of midwestern states, including southern Indiana....His action was challenged in court and overturned by the U.S. Circuit Court in Maryland (led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney) in Ex Parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (C.C.D. Md. 1861). Lincoln ignored Taney's order.

        (Wikipedia, Habeas Co [wikipedia.org]

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          History claims it worked for Abraham Lincoln: ... It was wrong for Lincoln, or for Grant in 1870

          But, as you point out, it was overturned as illegal. So it didn't actually work for Lincoln (unless I misread the quote you included).

          To paraphrase another infamous historical figure, "How many divisions does the Supreme Court have?"

          Well, I guess if POTUS is gonna declare war on SCOTUS, that could be an issue. It's one thing for the Russians to dismiss the Vatican; but, as long as the Constitution is upheld to

  • The European Parliament doesn't have as much power in Europe as it should. This kind of issues are decided, at the end of the day, by the states foreign ministers and they will not piss USA off.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @02:24PM (#16411529)
    http://www.itworld.com/Man/2688/061012eudatavote/i ndex.html [itworld.com]

    Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner in charge of justice issues, criticized Parliamentarians for being anti-American. "It's terrorism that is the problem, not the United States of America," he said.

    The 9/11 terrorists used stolen passports. Passenger data, credit card reports as well as any secret no-fly lists would have been useless in stopping the terrorist attacks.

    Breaking EU privacy laws and giving EU passenger data, credit card histories, Credit Card numbers and credit histories to CIA against the wishes of passengers and EU parliamentarians shows extreme contempt for the EU law and the European court's decision, our legal system and values.

    If the EU laws are not respected and enforced by our own government, and respected by the companies who should abide by them, then what good are they?

    Why should American law supercede EU law? We are not a part of United States. If USA fines European airlines, EU can fine American airlines double the amount.

    Why should CIA's excuses for right-to-spy on EU citizens supercede our right to privacy that is stipulated in EU law?

    Why is an EU commissioner advocating for the rights of CIA spies at the cost of EU citizens rights?

    • The 9/11 terrorists used stolen passports.

      "The Saudi passports the hijackers carried were genuine, and so were the visas to the U.S. But investigators believe the hijackers obtained fresh passports after telling Saudi authorities they had "lost" their old ones, presumably to cover up trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Then, knowing that spanking-new passports would raise questions, the hijackers artificially aged them and forged entry and exit stamps -- probably with old-fashioned rubber stamps and ink p

  • If you want our data, then we want yours... after all, if you've nothing to hide... then you've nothing to fear by having ex-communist countries and others having the goodies on Americans coming to visit them... and think of our children... and it's all in the fight against terrorists...
    • by repvik (96666)
      Oooh, don't forget partly-islamic Turkey, which is trying to become part of the EU!
  • Principles and ideals like liberty and freedom get sold out all the time in the name of the almighty dollar, or in this case, euro. It's been that way for a while now. Given the choice of retain your privacy and lose a few airlines to bankruptcy, or sell out your principles and keep those airlines in business, which wins? We see it time and again.

    I don't see an end any time soon to the controversy between those who want to preserve their own rights and those who want to take those rights away in the name
    • It's up to everyone of us. I try to do just that. I always wanted to take a vacation to visit the US, but I'm afraid I never will. For fear of being arrested, imprisonned, tortured, without an attorney and even without being told why, I prefer to stay here, or visit some other countries less hostile to foreigners. My data would probably not pose the faintest problem, but I refuse to take that risk: Errors can happen, so little the chance may be. I hope I'll manage to avoid any bussiness travel to te US.

      In r
      • by will_die (586523)
        The funny thing is that as an American living in Europe all that stuff you describe has been going on in Europe for ages. For safty purposes the company even has procedures in place so we could jump the border get a plane and get back to the US and they would then start work on tring to get our stuff back to us. This happened after one person who was in lawsuit with the government was raided during the middle of the night with moving trucks and he was arrested; and that was for a tax problem.
        Lets not eve

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