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EU Court Blocks Passenger Data Deal with U.S. 572

Reinier writes "The BBC reports that the European Court of Justice has ruled the airline data agreement with the United States is illegal. The 'agreement' required airlines to share 34 items of personal data of their passengers with American authorities at least fifteen minutes before take-off of any flight to the US. The Court of Justice examined the agreement after the European Parliament objected. A PDF of the ruling is available online."
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EU Court Blocks Passenger Data Deal with U.S.

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  • Interesting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:42AM (#15427866)
    Does anyone think that US will start banning flights or threaten to remove financial aid if the data isn't shared? Would a European country give in to the US or obey the court ruling?

    I think this is going to be a sticky mess since the rule of law isn't being respected in the US now and US attitudes towards foreign courts has always been "screw you, mate!"
  • by debest ( 471937 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:46AM (#15427879)
    "If we don't supply the information to the United States authorities then we're liable to fines of up to $6,000 per passenger and the loss of landing rights," he said.

    "And if we do supply the data, potentially we're breaking the law [on data protection]."

    So what are their options? Are the airlines going to have to completely suspend flights to the United States if neither side backs down?

    (Not that this possibility isn't intriguing, but I certainly wouldn't want to have to be a manager in one the major European carriers for the next few months).
  • Visas? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alfred, Lord Tennyso ( 975342 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:50AM (#15427895)
    Could the US simply refuse visas to anybody who will not provide them that information?

    And could they turn away a plane carrying somebody without a visa?

    In general EU citizens get their visas in customs, after having landed in the US, and US citizens get the same treatment in the EU. That's always struck me as odd, actually; what if they refuse you a visa? You've flown all that way for nothing?

    I wonder if they need to move the visa procedures back closer to the country of origin. That would probably be a massive regulatory hassle. And it would sure make relations between the US and the EU seem chillier.
  • Re:Big help (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:53AM (#15427917)
    That'll help all those EU-citizens a lot, that had their data sent to the USA in the past two years to be stored for the rest of eternity is all kind of dubious databases in the USA.

    So is that database they are building in the UK to track the time and location of every single liscense plater dubious or not?

    Here's a newsflash: In most of Europe, you are far more "watched" than in the US. Therefore, Europeans lecturing the US on storing personal information is like worrying that you left the oven on when evacuating your house that's already on fire.
  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:57AM (#15427938) Homepage Journal
    How on Earth those items are obtained by airlines in the first place?

    Let us count: SSN, names(3), credit card parameters: (number, expiration, zip code, ok give it 5), altogether hardly more than 20 even if I missed something.

    What are those 34 items?
  • by Foobar of Borg ( 690622 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:18AM (#15428049)
    Take the kosher meal and you won't be bothered by anyone. Just pray to Allah that you never need to make an emergency landing in the Middle East.

    Actually, just curious since I don't know, but what is the difference between Kosher and Halal (sp?). I thought both Jews and Muslims were following the Torah when it came to diet restrictions. Basically, would it be okay for a Muslim to order a Kosher meal, thus avoiding the hassle of being cavity searched by the TSA?

  • Re:Visas? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:25AM (#15428086)
    Canada has US TSA goons manning desks at its airports, e.g. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, etc. If you check in on a US-bound flight, you go through this process before you leave the ground.

    Incidentally, if you actually *read* the I-94 (the green form that many non-US citizens have to complete for a VISA-waiver), there is a section on the back that you actually sign to deny yourself the right of appeal.

    So, if the desk guy doesn't like the look of you, for whatever reason (or lack of reason), they can turn you around. This refusal of entry then denies you further entry to the US for 3-5 years.

    So - be nice to them. Even if they aren't nice to you. And remember, you're an "alien"
  • why EU ? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by BadassJesus ( 939844 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:35AM (#15428140)
    Most of the people in the EU (like me) admire the United States, the true freedom, business friedly environment, almost no racial discrimination, many competing "same lang" states etc. but again, if you treat us as terrorist nations, tight inspections of our families and still no US visas granted for EU members etc. really, why we should give you those personal information ? U.S. persons can travel all over the Europe freely, cheered everywhere like some uber persons, but sure we can't go to US without big visa hurdles.. then whats the point? We are not your slaves or some kind of lesser-stupid EU peasantry. Give us no visa America, and no more discriminating and insulting deep personal "x-ray" inspections. Better watch the Middle east closely then us, the good old Europe.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MaXMC ( 138127 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:39AM (#15428158) Homepage
    Well, yes, the UK have a DNA database in which it stores every DNA-evidence from any crime. They are also planing on having GPS transmitters in all cars so that you can be charged for driving on certain roads (and also probably for speeding).

    All these things are used to control in a way or another the appliance with laws.

    When I signed the Xbox-Live agreement I got choices if Microsoft Luxemburg could share my information with third-parties I said no.

    When I then put Burnout:Revenge (EA, Criterion games) in the xbox and agreed to their license, the first thing that happened was "Transfering user data from Microsoft to EA" I explicitly said NO to that.
    So where's my trust in Microsoft? Well it's low.
  • Re:Big help (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:44AM (#15428184) Homepage
    UK is the wrong example. By far.

    UK does not have a centralised database of its cittisen information and there is a patchwork of agency databases which often conflict even within a single agency. As a result in order to compensate for this the UK govt and especially the Tony Bliar one constantly engages in all kinds of 1984-like schemes which end up being miserable failures.

    The rest of EU has long gotten over it. There the govt keeps less data on its cittisens, but it is usually of considerably higher quality and centralised. Similarly, there are plenty of safeguards on using the data. As a result it needs to watch them considerably less and the data protection safeguards actually work because you can easily get what govt has on you. In the UK you cannot. Evey agency has its own feudal database.

    As a further example, for the UK govt it is OK to declare that 0.03% of the population are criminals just because the database is complete shambles and it does not even bother to apologise for the fact.

    So on, so fourth.

    UK is the wrong example. For all practical purposes it is not Europe as far as data protection and privacy is concerned. It is Timbuktu.
  • by PinkPanther ( 42194 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:17AM (#15428376)
    The one exception seems to be alcohol.
    Alcohol being "banned" is also questionable in Islam.

    Islam preaches about moderation. Anything in abundance is bad, including prayer if it interfers with the general principles of being a good Muslim (e.g. prayer to the exclusion of being an active member of society or devotion to the point of obsession).

    Though I have seen passages from the Qu'ran stating that alcohol (or "intoxicants" or "fermented fruits") are banned, I strongly question that stance. Many of these passages, as with other religion documents around the world, are taken out of context and/or questionably translated.

    Islam does not contain many absolutes in its philosophy (don't confuse philosophy with practice and culture)...it is a religion of reason and its primary messages are of love, peace, family, society and living a life of moderation.

    Yes, you can find many (MANY) webpages stating that there are fundamental truths in Islam and its practice including the "Haram" of alcohol...and I can find a number of sites that state that women have no voice, that "infidels" are anyone who disagrees with some sect's interpretations, yada-yada-yada.

    At its root, Islam asks that each individual Muslim question for themselves the essence of their faith and the meaning of its philosophy. Blindly accepting rules and "facts" set out by others does not make one a "good Muslim".

  • by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <rrw@hell.pl> on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:42AM (#15428540) Journal
    But you see... European data protection laws explicitelly state, that consent to give away data protection cannot be condition to any contract and items of contracts containing such provisions are void.

    This is a big difference between US and EU laws. In both organisms state reserves the oversight of contracts between private citizens and corporations. But while in US government backs away from such oversight in any matter that any wacko might label "anti-business", in EU there are lots of laws, that state that some provisions in them cannot be discarded by contracts, and items of contracts contradicting such provisions are illegal and void.

    I actually like my state protecting me from monopolies/cartels.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) * on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:43AM (#15428542) Homepage Journal
    Since u.s. public havent shown much activity in that respect, apparently it is left to eu to do the thing.

    I dont get what happened to the ordniary aggressive u.s. citizen who would refrain from nothing to protect his/her rights. Adminstration have been taking away all their rights gradually lately.

    Some shit is proposed, and it is 'beautified' with the add on word "anti-terrorism", and its a go go. Noone objects.

    What is going on ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:07PM (#15428739)
    As I recall (may be mistaken), all the 9/11 hijackers had valid identities, passports, and visas. How would tracking any of this information prevent or reduce terrorism? Do terrorists only use a certain travel agent, or will you filter only those whose billing information is the Al Quaeda corporate address?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @12:17PM (#15428835)
    That particular aspect of Christianity is relatively new. Historically one did not read the bible, and it was not in a language easy to learn. The priest translated and used the pope was the tie-breaker. Things have changed. Now anyone can misinterpret it conveniently, instead of just one power hungry guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @01:01PM (#15429166)
    "Maybe because we here in the US we take security fairly seriously. How exactly are we treating you like a criminal by ensuring our security?"

    You MUST be joking. The US view of security and counter terrorism operations is immature and poorly executed. It would still be ridiculously easy to carry out terrorist operations on the US, mostly because your actions have actually made it easier to subvert the systems. Because you won't learn from others and you still go around with this arrogant attitude its a near certainty that another attack will occur (hopefully not with a nuke, but you never know).

    The US TSA is horribly offensive to visitors, seeming to think the hordes are just waiting to swarm off the jets and into the land of free. The reality is rather different. Many people, myself included, are actively avoiding going anywhere near the place, to the extent of avoiding contracts with US organisations. It cost you the world's good will, its costing you business and when things really get tough its probably going to mean you are left out in the cold.

    You needed friends, you have created indifference at best, enemies at worse.

  • by Jim_Callahan ( 831353 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @04:04PM (#15430812)
    "seeing as how those are more important than any individual's life anyway"

    If the institution is more important than the individual, then the policy is by definition working against civil rights (which are about protecting the individual from the various institutions). Your statement would seem to contradict itself.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"