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US–EU Flight Talks Collapse 457

fantomas writes, "The BBC is reporting that the current US-EU talks over data collected from people flying to the USA collapsed last night. US Customs and Border Protection is insisting on access to the airlines' records and 34 pieces of data to be collected from each passenger. This data has been gathered since 2004, but only as a temporary measure. The European Court of Justice threw out the temporary agreement and set a deadline of Sept. 30 to arrive at a new one. Airlines that refuse to hand over information to US authorities may be fined up to $6,000 per passenger, and the passengers themselves held up in immigration for hours. Good for the EU on protecting the privacy of their citizens? Or are they hindering the War on Terror?" An EU official said that the EU wanted to give away less data, while the US wanted more.
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US–EU Flight Talks Collapse

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  • Crap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:30PM (#16269123) Homepage

    Crap, I'm flying to Costa Rica from the EU this Thursday, the plane will make a stop in Miami. I hope the customs checks aren't going to be more insane than they've already been recently.

    That said, the US can't really complain too loudly if EU carriers stop giving them all the info they want now - it's clearly against EU privacy laws, and apparently at least one EU carrier (Air Italy) has never given all the info and wasn't prevented from landing, so it would be hypocritical to refuse landing rights immediately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You should prepare ahead of time.

      Can you touch your toes?
    • by Potor ( 658520 ) <farker1@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:51PM (#16269317) Journal
      So, if you order a halal meal, it won't be reported. but if you eat a vegitarian meal, it will.

      my point is not that halal meals should be indicated to the americans (pretty f'n far from that, actually). my point is simply that america would profile muslims, but this particular item (food choice) only allows them to profile 16 year old girls and rastas (please accept my hyperbole). outside of a mad powergrab, what is the point of this?

      i cannot begin to imagine the thought process that lead to this filtering.

      once again, a great example of regulations that will have no positive effect on terrorism, which can only cause great discomfort for the majority, and further weaken any notions of individual liberty.

      and before any of you go on about how an airplane (or shopping mall, or street corner, or toilet, or your front lawn, etc.) is not private space, let me simply point out that at least without the collection of this data, my being there is not the grounds for the wet dream of some analyst. but now it is, thanks to the greatest democracy the world has ever known.

      • by gothamboy ( 699451 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:36PM (#16269685)
        Gee, since an Moslem terrorist would know this too and since if they are on a suicide mission or other mission, they are probably going to skip the wonderful airline food and they will know not to order a special meal. Once again, another pointless Bush administration loss of liberty to ZERO affect on the war on terror.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IAR80 ( 598046 )
          So if you are a terrorist you just need to order pork, booze and a playboy magazine.

          ---
          http://world4.monstersgame.co.uk/?ac=vid&vid=47010 693 [monstersgame.co.uk]
    • Privacy in US (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mldqj ( 779952 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @10:24PM (#16272287) Journal
      I went to San Francisco from Beijing to attend an academic conference this June. I was travelling with only a backpack, which somehow made me a suspecious target. At the SFO airport an officer demanded to check my backpack. I was carrying a digital camera. Without asking for my permission, and even before I realized what he wanted to do, he already browsed through tens of the photos stored in the camera. I was shocked. Although there was nothing really private there, that was simply unacceptable.

      A few days after I went back to China. A very good friend wanted to buy a new DC, so she played with my camera for a while. She politely asked me if it was okay for her to look at the pictures before switching to playback mode.

      So much for "respecting other people's privacy" in US.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by suffe ( 72090 )
        Not that long ago this post would have read as a sarcastic piece instead of a true event. It would have been the equivalent of "I took a plane from Siberia to Florida and boy was it cold when I landed". Sad state of affairs.
  • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:30PM (#16269125)
    Papers please.
    • by Mydron ( 456525 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:42PM (#16269249)
      I'm not sure if this was meant as a joke or not, in either case, it raises an important issue.

      If you ever have an opportunity to talk with someone who lived in a soviet country, I highly recommend asking them what tool of oppression featured most highly in their day-to-day lives.

      So far, from the opinions I have gathered, being required to show ID and other papers arbitrarily demanded by authorities ranks pretty highly. It is an infringement of privacy and limits your ability to conduct your own business without being scrutinized by your neighbors (or worse your local constabulary).

      Every time I have to show my drivers license at the airport I have a chuckle at the inane pointlessness of it. But in truth I should be pissed off. Why does the flight attendant need to know who I am? What difference does it make who I am? They're certainly not protecting me from terrorists because the last batch of terrorists all had perfectly legitimate ID which they used! It is an information grab by Big Brother, plain and simple.
      • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:47PM (#16269285) Homepage Journal
        Julia, Are You Awake [slashdot.org]

        Read it [slashdot.org]

        "Orwell was writing about the reality of 1948, with the layers of appearance peeled-off. The shallower chisel-marks of his own time were cast into sharper bas-relief by supposing an arc that played 36 years into his future.

        And here we are. Here we have been."
      • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:14PM (#16269503)
        So far, from the opinions I have gathered, being required to show ID and other papers arbitrarily demanded by authorities ranks pretty highly.

        It is the transfer of power from the citizen (government of the People, by the People, for the People) to the Police.

        In a Free society, the police are restricted in the exercise of their authority to defined circumstances. The traffic cop can pull you over if you're in your car.

        When the police can stop you and demand identification at any time, you have lost your Freedom. The police now have control over you.

        Who do you think the police will be stopping more often?
        a. Fat, ugly, old women
        b. Attractive young women

        Think about your answer to that. Then think about if your wife, sister, daughter was cute and young and whether you'd want her in that situation.
      • by ozbird ( 127571 )
        Every time I have to show my drivers license at the airport I have a chuckle at the inane pointlessness of it.

        Forget terrorism - how about credit card fraud? With E-tickets and Internet bookings, getting a "free" flight has never been easier for crooks.
      • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:03PM (#16269969)
        So far, from the opinions I have gathered, being required to show ID and other papers arbitrarily demanded by authorities ranks pretty highly.

        This is why the flap about illegal immigration in the U.S. is so insidious. The only way to "secure the border" is to require all people on U.S. soil to carry ID all the time. Otherwise the border becomes a single point of failure, and once you're in you can get away with anything because in a free country everything that is not forbidden is permitted.

        In the old Soviet Union everything that was not permited was forbidden, leaving people in a situation where they had to ask permission to do almost anything. I worked with a Soviet Georgian in the early '90's whom at first didn't understand that there was no form you had to fill out to make a long distance phone call. In the Soviet lab he'd worked in previously the procedure for making a long distance call was to file for permission, specifying who you were going to call and why, and then you were allowed access to the phone when (if) permission was granted.

        This kind of routine intervention and restriction of citizen's lives is the eyes of some the only way to keep the country "safe". But others might ask: is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be bought at the price of chains and slavery? [thenation.com].
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I have lived in Soviet Union and can't say it's true.
        I have NEVER carried my paper unless I was going to travel by air or conducted business with bank or goverment agency. You didn't need your paper otherwise. Militia (police) didn't stop you at random. You didn't need paper to travel by train, tickets didn't have a names on it. All this shit about carry your identification started at beginning of 90th, when SU sease to exist.
        So right now in USA we have more restricted movement then in Soviet Union,
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! ( 33014 )
      But in the land of the free ... they scan your face and feed it into a biometric tracking databae.

      Or they intercept yoru phone records and correlate it with data from a commercial data mining outfit.

      All the surveillance, none of the indignity. At least none of the awareness of the indignity.
    • by plopez ( 54068 )
      Exactly. What I see happening ids the US slowly closing it borders, making entry and exit horrible onerous or impossible in some cases. Scary.
  • by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:30PM (#16269137) Homepage
    It's every bit as nonsensical as the war on drugs.

    Neither of them are supply-side problems, and attacking the supply side is utterly ludicrous, and just reduces our civil liberties. You know, those things that make America a great place?

    If we really wanted to stop terrorism, we'd work on solving the problem from a social position. You have to understand why people hate you so much in order to fix the problem.

    The war on terror isn't about being effective, it's about making people feel like we're doing something. Well, we're doing something alright, we're eroding our liberties until the terrorists have won.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ResidntGeek ( 772730 )
      No, the terrorists have won when our troops stop killing their countrymen. That won't happen until the people at large get fed up with the War on Terror and vote in politicians that won't continue it. It would be nice if there were people like that, and politicians like that, wouldn't it?
      • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:50PM (#16269311) Homepage Journal
        "No, the terrorists have won when our troops stop killing their countrymen"

        I know it's not your position - but it is the position of many in the Mediaverse.
        What you are describing is "collective punishment" - a war crime.
      • By definition, most terrorists don't care about their own countrymen. Hell, they don't have any issue with BOMBING their own countrymen.

        Of course it's much more intimate when it's your neighbourg bombing your ass instead of some napoleon-wannabe, but still...

        The terrorists win when their target lives in fear. When their target changes it's way of thinking, living and being because of them. But above all, they win when their target becomes like them.

        The terrorists have already won in the US.

        Besides, iraq

        • Osama bin Ladin's 1998 Fatwah [ict.org.il]

          Osama bin Ladin seems to disagree with you about his intentions. Now I'm not sure who to believe.

          By the way, the entire US doesn't pray to Allah, so we haven't become like them.
          • By the way, the entire US doesn't pray to Allah, so we haven't become like them.

            I fear my point was more about americans having less and less liberties, and happily throwing any they still can find out of the window just because they're told it will help.

            Besides, it's not like christian fundies are any better than islamic fundies.

      • In Ireland we have a neat slogan that pretty much sums up the Nationalist line on British interference.....

        Brits Out

        Perhaps if Al Quaeda had a similarly succinct slogan people would get it. They want Americans to stop meddling in the Middle East, but as long as there is oil under the sand America will be there, and terrorists will use Islam as an excuse to attack them.
    • by partisanX ( 1001690 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:42PM (#16269243) Homepage
      The war on terror isn't about being effective, it's about making people feel like we're doing something

      I disagree. It's about keeping enough people scared long enough to completely change what it means to be "free" in America. The government wants these changes and keeping us scared is the only way they can get them. Anyone can say tinfoil hat or whatever, but the evidence is so overwhelming that the powers that be want this, that I simply can not understand how anyone could not see it.

      You listen to all the people backing the freedom stealing actions taken in the name of WOT and they are almost all cowards in that all their best arguments are nothing more than appeals to give up what were once cherished american rights and freedoms in the name of easing their fears. Then they have the nerve to play like they're the brave ones.

      The fact that these cowards call themselves "patriots" and back actions taken to the point where it is now the EU and not the US complaining about too much information being collected about individuals speaks volumes about what continues to be wrong with the cowards thinking.
      • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:57PM (#16269913)
        It's about keeping enough people scared long enough to completely change what it means to be "free" in America.

        Just as creepy as 1984 seems, get a load of this.

        When one maniac can wipe out a city of twenty million with a microbe developed in his basement, a new approach to law enforcement becomes necessary. Every citizen of the world must be placed under surveillance. That means sky-cams at every intersection, computer-mediated analysis of every phone call, e-mail, and snail-mail, and a purely electronic economy in which every transaction is recorded and data-mined for suspicious activity.

        We are close to achieving this goal. Some would say that human liberty has been compromised, but the reality is just the opposite. As surveillance expands, people become free from danger, free to walk alone at night, free to work in a safe place, and free to buy any legal product or service without the threat of fraud. One day every man and woman will quietly earn credits, purchase items for quiet homes on quiet streets, have cook-outs with neighbors and strangers alike, and sleep with doors and windows wide open. If that isn't the tranquil dream of every free civilization throughout history, what is?

        -- Anna Navarre, Agent, UNATCO

        I played this game as a teenager. It was cool then. It's still cool now. ...but it's getting fucking scarier all the time.
    • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:43PM (#16269257) Journal
      1) There is no way to "solve" the drug problem on the demand side of things. The substances are fucking addictive. Even after rehab people struggle every day to stay away from the stuff, and if it's availible (supply) many can't. I'm talking about real drugs (crack, meth, herion) not marijuana and ecstasy mind you.

      2) There is no way to "solve" the terrorist problem on the home front either. These are people that for the most part are religiously motivated. Ever tried arguing with someone about religion? Those who buy into the extreme version of Islam will not stop until the world converts to their expectations. If the U.S. was to become a muslim nation, they would simply direct their actions towards the next target because their whole philosophy hinges on there being someone to blame and fight.
      • > 2) There is no way to "solve" the terrorist problem on the home front either.

        Demand that your government respect human rights, international law, the Geneva Conventions and stop supporting dictatorships.
        Do this to stop expanding the terrorists organizations pool of potential new members.
        • True, that needs to be done and will curb much of the problem, but it will by no means "solve" it. What I was getting at was that you can't resolve the issue by ONLY changing things on the home front. In any struggle both parties are usually to blame and I'd say that holds true here.
      • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <(lee) (at) (ringofsaturn.com)> on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:06PM (#16269443) Homepage
        "Those who buy into the extreme version of Islam will not stop until the world converts to their expectations."

        Uh huh. Check out the apocalyptic Christians who are visiting the White House regularly. I am way, way more scared of those wackos. They're better funded.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        There is no way to "solve" the terrorist problem on the home front either.

        What if, from the "Home Front", the United States just stopped attacking non-terrorst countries. By not creating a terrorist factory, like the new Iraq, the supply would be choked off before it could take root.

      • by kraut ( 2788 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:18PM (#16270575)
        > 1) There is no way to "solve" the drug problem on the demand side of things. The substances are fucking addictive. Even after rehab people struggle every day to stay away from the stuff, and if it's availible (supply) many can't. I'm talking about real drugs (crack, meth, herion) not marijuana and ecstasy mind you.
        There's an easy way to solve the drug problem on the demand side: Make them available legally in controlled circumstances. Not sure about crack and meth, but heroin is medically safe to take as long as a) it's not mixed with crap b) you know the dose you're taking - which is why it's used as a painkiller in hospitals. Yes, it is addictive, but it is quite safe to take, and - unlike e.g. alcohol - doesn't even cause birth defects. Giving legal access takes out a huge chunk of the profits of organised crime, and allows junkies to become productive members of society again. Idealistic claptrap, I hear you say? No, pilot studies in CH and NL show that it works.

        > 2) There is no way to "solve" the terrorist problem on the home front either.
        Agreed.

        > These are people that for the most part are religiously motivated.
        Disagree, to a large extent the anger is political rather than what we'd call religious in the west. Admittedly the boundaries blur.

        > Ever tried arguing with someone about religion?
        Fun, innit? ;)

        > Those who buy into the extreme version of Islam will not stop until the world converts to their expectations. If the U.S. was to become a muslim nation, they would simply direct their actions towards the next target because their whole philosophy hinges on there being someone to blame and fight.
        Whoa. They do, quite fairly, have quite a bit to blame the west for. The installation of Shah in Iran (overthrowing a democracy, btw). Propping up the Saudi Kingdom plus associated other mini-monarchs. Supporting Saddam Hussein all the way (cheerfully ignoring the genocide he's on trial for, or the war he started against Iran, or his use of poisan gas in that war, or ...) right until he invaded Kuweit.
        You can see why People might take some convincing that now we're actually serious about that whole democracy and human rights stuff. Guantanamo does't help.
        Just to point out that there's more to this than merely "evil islam wanting to conquer the world". Oh dear, that's probably earned me a fatwah now ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrNaz ( 730548 )

        Those who buy into the extreme version of Islam will not stop until the world converts to their expectations.

        You don't seriously believe that they are more worried about the fact that Americans are eating pig and drinking beer than:

        • The fact that American armies roam the world raping, pillaging and torturing as they go;
        • Their corporations extort loans upon countries that can't afford the interest in the first place so that they sign hugely inflated and unnecessary economic development contracts that for
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:48PM (#16269297)
      Neither of them are supply-side problems, and attacking the supply side is utterly ludicrous, and just reduces our civil liberties. You know, those things that make America a great place?

      Pardon? Have you that little background of our nation's history? "Civil rights" is hardly something that America has gotten right.

      Take slavery, for instance. The first 80 to 100 or so years of American history were about completely denying certain racial groups any significant rights in large portions of the nation. Even after the Civil War started to change the status quo, things took many decades to improve. It wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s, nearly 200 years after the founding of America, that such groups started to get the rights they deserved from the very onset.

      Women weren't in much better of a situation. They weren't allowed to vote from the early 1800s until 1920. South Carolina didn't ratify the 19th Amendment until 1969!

      Of course, we can't forget the Japanese-American internment camps run by the US during WWII. I'll let you do your own research on those camps, since the whole subject is far too massive to describe adequately here.

      Today we still see much antagonism directed towards homosexuals.

      What we're seeing now just follows with the trends we have witnessed over all of America's history. A lot of people brag about how great their civil liberties are, but a quick analysis of the situation shows that what they say just isn't the case. Again and again over the entire history of the US, various groups have had their civil liberties stripped or not even granted.

      Sure, America is far better than many nations. But it's very naive to think that America's history with respect to civil liberties is special in any way. More often than not we find that other nations offered various civil liberties far before America did, and often in a manner that was far more inclusive.

      • by NMerriam ( 15122 )
        it's very naive to think that America's history with respect to civil liberties is special in any way.

        The United States has never claimed to have the most effective or practical or pragmatic system. That has never been our strength (indeed, most of our major errors were due to overzealous pragmatism). What we got right was saying that people, by virtue of existing, have civil liberties that are not at the pleasure of government or society at large, even if it the exercise of those rights is not in the best
    • by Cheapy ( 809643 )
      What civil liberties do you speak of?
  • Except for the UK (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:31PM (#16269141)

    This is all fine, unless you're in the UK, in which case the government has conveniently made an arrangement for airlines to give the US all the information they want legally, circumventing the EU law on a technicality. It's good to know that Tony is independent of George's dog-handler these days, isn't it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nutshell42 ( 557890 )
      A person much wittier than I once said

      Tony Blair is so far up GWB's ass he can see John Howard's feet

      (although it could've been the other way round =)

    • This would show that the UK government holds their citizen's information in high regard (hahahaha, yeah right) and at the same time indicate a desire for "compliance" with their US masters' wishes, and simultaneously earn the UK a spot of cash.

      Next problem please.
  • What on earth do they need our email addresses for?! I fail to see how this is relevant security information, especially considering how easy it is to set up a new email alias, and how easy it is to fake an email.
    • Re:Email address? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:44PM (#16269261)
      This is to keep normal citizens under control and intimidated, not to fight terrorists. And maybe to dissuade those evil freedom-preaching EU nationals from visiting the USA and spreading their ever so cancerous "be skeptical of authority figures" memes.

      The only really major terrorists in the world right now are the USA's three letter agencies (yeah, the WTC attacks were impressive-looking and very big-media-friendly (see recent Hollywood self-pitying wank-fest of a film.). But more people are killed in traffic accidents in a month. Where's the War on Dangerous Driving, eh?). Most other terrorists are _somebody's_ freedom fighters, for fuck's sake, the only "people" that the USA's terrorists seem to be fighting for the freedom of are those artificial legal entities called "corporations" that are apparently considered people in the USA.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Along those lines... what are they going to do if you say you don't have one?

      You know, besides pull you out of line, stick you in room 101....
  • by Hebbinator ( 1001954 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:32PM (#16269159)
    They left out the most important one..

    [arnold]
    "Who is your daddy, and what does he do?"
    [/arnold]
  • For fuck's sake! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:32PM (#16269167)
    Guys, I'm not saying the EU is perfect, but can you people in the USA please SMARTEN THE FUCK UP and kick out the junta now controlling your government? Yeah, "you" stepped in to europe and saved our asses from the Nazis. But that was OVER HALF A CENTURY AGO now. Things have changed.

    Maybe we will be able to return the favour, if things get too bad over there, but I wouldn't count on it. Anyway, you didn't step in in europe until the situation had already degenerated into bloody war, and I suspect if we even tried to step in militarily before that point, all we'd do is make you fight the wrong enemy - i.e. us!

    Well, I guess this particular move doesn't matter to me much, because until there's "regime change" in the USA, there's no way in hell I'm going there again anyway!

    Land of the "free"? Don't make me laugh.

    • by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:18PM (#16269525) Homepage
      I live in a popular tourist destination in America and one thing I've learned is that most of my counrtymen are complete morons. Wait. That's an insult to morons. People ask me, and I'm not making this up, "Do you'all take American money?" Or say assinine things like "You'all speak really good English!" No shit, asshole. This is the USA!

      Now, imagine these knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers scared out of their puny, defective little minds and you have some idea of the average American. Too scared and stupid to think straight.

      Makes me want to vomit.
    • There are lots of people in the US who are very tired of the administrations policies, and want to see them replaced. Many did believe the lies about the war, that it would improve safety, that it would expand freedom and democracy, when it has done the opposite. It has in fact, I believe, made this country much more dangerous, by doing the exact things the extremists have said they despise, invading their countries, and done horrific damage in the countries we have invaded and caused the situation there to
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Denial93 ( 773403 )
        > There must be better ways, and there are. For instance, Gandhi is an example.

        This is not only wrong, it is the sort of fallacy that keeps the ruthless in power. Gandhi's hunger strike was successful because it caused mass riots. Similarily, Martin Luther King is a pretty face that we put on the fact suppression of the blacks was becoming too expensive. For a more recent example, look at the Paris suburb riots of last year. Those people had asked for better standards of living for a long time, through
  • Realllllly (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mad Martigan ( 166976 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:38PM (#16269213) Homepage
    An EU official said that the EU wanted to give away less data, while the US wanted more.

    That doesn't sound right at all!

    More seriously, here's some of the data they're talking about (from the article)

    Passenger profile

    The Passenger Name Record (PNR) data that has been transferred up to now, falls into 34 overlapping fields, some of which contain very little information, for example the passenger's name, while others contain a lot, including the passenger's name (again), date of birth, sex, citizenship and so on.

    Some of this information is collected when the ticket is booked, some of it at check-in, and some is information about the passenger's travelling history, which can be gleaned from the reservation database. Not all the fields will necessarily be filled in.

    The data can be broken down into the following categories

            * Information about the passenger: name; address; date of birth; passport number; citizenship; sex; country of residence; US visa number (plus date and place issued); address while in the US; telephone numbers; e-mail address; frequent flyer miles flown; address on frequent flyer account; the passenger's history of not showing up for flights

            * Information about the booking of the ticket: date of reservation; date of intended travel; date ticket was issued; travel agency; travel agent; billing address; how the ticket was paid for (including credit card number); the ticket number; which organisation issued the ticket; whether the passenger bought the ticket at the airport just before the flight; whether the passenger has a definite booking or is on a waiting list; pricing information; a locator number on the computer reservation system; history of changes to the booking

            * Information about the flight itself: seat number; seat information (eg aisle or window); bag tag numbers; one-way or return flight; special requests, such as requests for special meals, for a wheelchair, or help for an unaccompanied minor

            * Information about the passenger's itinerary: other flights ticketed separately, or data on accommodation, car rental, rail reservations or tours.

            * Information about other people: the group the passenger is travelling with; the person who booked the ticket

    The CBP system has been built in such a way that some "sensitive" information is filtered out.

    Protected data

    According to the undertakings on data protection provided by the US, this includes "personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data concerning the health or sex life of the individual".

    This means that Halal or Kosher meal preferences will not show up, while requests for a vegetarian meal will.


    I also found this passage interesting:

    Airlines have been threatened with fines of $6,000 per passenger or withdrawal of landing rights if they fly to the US without supplying the data, which American officials use to try to identify potential terrorists.

    But the airlines could face prosecution under national data protection laws in EU member states if they do hand over the information.


    I'm not exactly a friend of the airlines, but it seems like they're screwed either way.
    • Re:Realllllly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:58PM (#16269379)

      I'm not exactly a friend of the airlines, but it seems like they're screwed either way.

      Only if they continue to fly to the US.

      Look at the mass disruption and consequent political fall-out recently caused in the UK just by inconveniencing passengers with over-zealous security checks. Those lasted a few weeks before the policy was softened back to almost its original level, and the government is now being sued, or likely to be sued imminently, left, right and centre. On this experience, I imagine the US administration would cave in about three seconds if every major European airline refused go fly there until their information-hording policy was backed down to more reasonable levels. The damage to the US, for which the administration will inevitably be held responsible by the electorate, would be far greater than the damage to most airline companies.

    • We're all safer from terrorism when the government knows I ask for vegetarian meals.
  • by CharonX ( 522492 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:51PM (#16269313) Journal
    If you have not done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about
    Ok you convinced me, I won't fly to the USA. I don't see any reason why a goverment should be allowed snoop in my private life "just to make sure I'm not a terrorist". Do they think terrorists are dumb enough to say "No, please only one way tickets and I don't need a method of leaving the airport. And please only a light meal, I don't want to blow myself up with a full stomach. But first I'll clear out my account and donate everything to a well-know extremist organistion." *sigh*
  • by jay2003 ( 668095 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @04:52PM (#16269319)
    The EU has data protection laws and should stick to them. The US shouldn't be able bully the rest of the world to ignoring its laws. If this shuts down transatlantic travel, so be it. EU should go a WTO tribunal and demand compensation over the any US fines or loss of revenue to its airlines. The Bush administration has given the finger to international standards and international law and will continue to do so until the other nations of world stand up for themselves
    • by nick255 ( 139962 )
      The EU isn't standing up for its laws as long as it fails to prosecute any airlines for handing over data.

      As far as I'm aware, all airlines are deciding to possibility violate EU laws, rather than infringe US laws. They have said they plan to continue to hand over data.

      Presumably this is because the US has a functioning government, which can realisticaly threaten immediate action. Ths EU doesn't, so the airlines know that if the violate EU agreements it will be a long time before it has any consequences for
      • Presumably this is because the US has a functioning government, which can realisticaly threaten immediate action. Ths EU doesn't, so the airlines know that if the violate EU agreements it will be a long time before it has any consequences for them.

        Yeah, the US is always quick to punish corporate offenders, while the EU hangs around and does nothing forever. How is Microsoft doing these days, by the way?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by idlethought ( 558209 )
          EU airlines in US Courts, US Software companies in EU courts - I'm prepared to predict how this might go.
    • The EU has data protection laws and should stick to them. The US shouldn't be able bully the rest of the world to ignoring its laws.

      Well... I don't see a problem from the view of the airlines. It will be a personal issue for the passengers. The airlines will have to tell passengers going from the EU to the US that they must "opt-in" to giving up the data to fly to the US, since the US can bar people who do not provide it. It's not really an airline issue, it's more like saying you can't come to the US with

  • How about EU collecting the same data from US passengers?

    Symmetricality should should be a precondition for such a measure.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wow, good thing they dont do this to people crossing the US\Mexico border or my porch would have never gotten built.
  • by lorg ( 578246 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:24PM (#16269577)
    Good, finally we have started to stand up to the insanity of frivolous data collection. There are just to many unknown factors here. How long is the data stored (probably forever), who will have access to it once it reaches US Shores (TIA?), what will they do with it, how will it be processed and cross referenced. A near endless line of question could really follow here.

    How come it appears to be a very one sided transfer of data, after all we don't get the same information about americans travelling to Europe as we are expected to send over, do we?. Which is odd since we have had way more terrorist attacks on european soil then have ever taken place in the USA.

    Since this is all carried out in the cause of preventing terrorism I do wonder if this will really stop any terrorist? Doubtful, if anything they have just given them a list of things to stay clear off if you want to slide under the digital radar. I'll eat porkchops or fish, buy a return ticket (even thou there will be no return), i'll pay via creditcard and generally provide the system with non suspicious information.

    But if it stopped just one terrorist wouldn't it be worth it? When the violation of millions is justified for a single success I don't wanna play no more. I haven't been to America since pre 9-11 and quite frankly I don't feel any great urgency to return either, not for biz or pleasure.

    If the EU can just stand firm and hold its ground I think we'll be the winner here, after all we'll loose far less economically then the USA will when others realise the same.

    We won't miss privacy until its gone and then its to late cause it's just to easy to take away but very hard (if not impossible) to reclaim.
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:33PM (#16269663)
    A very interesting piece about security on airports can be found here [reason.com]

    So when are the people stand up and make some more tea in Boston? Or do you believe that the second amendment was just so you go squirrel hunting?

    Looking at http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constituti on.billofrights.html [cornell.edu] and I wonder which ones still are working amendments.

    1. Sort of
    2. Sort of
    3. Yes
    4. Nope
    5. Nope
    6. Sorry, no
    7. Not sure
    8. No
    9. Not sure
    10. Well, they say "or", so I would say yes on a technicality.
    • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:23AM (#16274505) Journal
      A very interesting piece about security on airports can be found here

      Hey, that was a great read. Are you from the USA? if you are, then accept my pitty. Really, if all of what is written there is true then there is no doubt that you have already lost your "war on terror".

      Really, when this kind of things happen:

      On March 21, 2003, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was placed under a 40-minute lockdown, prohibiting all passenger entries or exits and all plane departures. TSA agents hit the alarm when they spotted a little toy gun on a child's belt buckle in a carry-on bag.
      The TSA confiscated the child's belt buckle. Spokesman
      Rick DeChant announced, "Had Mom or Dad helped this kid pack, this [airport lockdown] could have been avoided."


      Or this:

        On March 8, 2003, a terminal at the Hartford, Connecticut, airport was evacuated after a screener was caught taking a late afternoon nap by an X-ray machine.


      or this:

      After the flight landed, the marshals nailed another terrorist suspect: a physician and retired U.S. Army major named Robert Rajcoomar. He was handcuffed and taken into custody because, as TSA spokesman David Steigman later explained it, he "had been observing too closely."


      They are clear signals that people in your country are completely terrorized. You have been terrorized by your own goverment. As other people already wrote, I avoid at all costs to pass have anything to do with USA. I travel from UK to Mexico quite often. The first time I went to UK was with KLM. I do not have an USA Visa and really I am not eager to get it. Next christmas I will flight to Mexico, I was looking at the prices and it is quite cheap to flight UK - Mexico via Chicago, but there is no way I will go trough all the hassle of getting a Visa to let the USA government get my profile.

      Just as a side comment. Long ago, I believe it was between 1990 and 1995, an aunt went to USA for whatever reason, when was returning, they stopped her before boarding her plain because my grandmother, who had traveled to USA 10 years ago or something, appeared as if she had never left the USA. They were trying to make my aunt say were was my grandmother "hiding" in the USA. After several hours of questions I believe they let her go.

      It turns out (after some famility talk) that when my grandmother flew to USA, she forgot to hand a paper she had to give to in the USA to mark her leave.

      One of the things I learnt from that is the amount of information they DO have about you and me. I mean, we (our familiy) is in no way notable. We are middle class Mexicans. My grandmother was also a typical Juana Seis-Pack, nothing fancy. We were surprised to know how did they know my aunt was related to my grandmother (they did know before they started asking her).

      It is because of that among lots of things that I dont want to put a foot in USA. If you see my comments I really have said harsh things against your government, and I am sure that if I put a foot in USA they will get me thinking I am some kind of terrorist for whatever reason and you know what? I wont give them that joy.

  • Hi, my name is Drew, and I'm an American. With all this unAmerican actions happening inside my once free country, I am interested in living and working elsewhere.

    I have 10 years of experience as a UNIX sysadmin, some contributory authership cred, and I do some other neat webby things on the side. I can prolly relearn German most easily, but will be happy to learn almost any other language as needed.

    I'm looking to earn a modest living in or near a City, without the threat of anal probes, or arbitrary in
  • Europe and Privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Stoddard ( 876771 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @05:40PM (#16269731) Homepage Journal
    I've heard time and again about ubiquitous cameras in Britain... I don't know about the rest of Europe, but if they act in any similar manner, then any praise for their protection of their citizens' privacy rights in this seems pretty silly to me. Perhaps I'm wrong?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kraut ( 2788 )
      Any policeman is free to look at me when I walk down a public road.

      That's not the same as having to provide him my passport, birth certificate, credit card, telephone, email and meal prefernces just because he wants to know.

      Does that answer your question?

      Camereras in the UK generally come in two flavours:
      1. put up by property owners to cover their property - I'm fairly sure that's commonplace all over the world.
      2. put up by the (usually local) government as a way to curb / displace crime. Of somewhat dubio
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JimBobJoe ( 2758 )
      I don't know about the rest of Europe, but if they act in any similar manner, then any praise for their protection of their citizens' privacy rights in this seems pretty silly to me.

      There is a slightly different focus on privacy preferences in Europe than in the United States. It's also rooted in the fact that each country has comfort zones due to cultural issues (as far as I can tell, Germans are less camera friendly, French less ID card friendly; but the Germans are ok with ID cards because they're comfor
  • Pshaw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snarkth ( 1002832 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:25PM (#16270629)
    The "War on Terror" is mythological propganda. The real war is religious fundamentalists vs. religious fundamentalists. *snarky*
  • Erm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @08:40PM (#16271343) Journal
    Here's the thing. If I have a few grams of a strong alkali metal, and ask the stewardess for a glass of water, that plane isn't staying in the air long. Since something deep inside my soul tells me most dogs aren't trained to sniff alkali metals, I have a feeling that could be a very bad thing.

    What's my point? Since it's impossible to protect against even a significant number of ways that a person who wants to die can destroy an aircraft, isn't it better to just scale back to rational, sensible security measures, and give people back their freedom to travel as they please, forced to deal with the fact that with freedom comes the possiblity of death?

    I don't fly anymore. The thought of being treated like a prison inmate just isn't appealing. I'd rather die from a rubidium bomb than life treated like a terrorist suspect for the grand offense of wanting to fly from one unspectacular city to another.

  • Retarded (Score:3, Insightful)

    by umbrellasd ( 876984 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @09:56PM (#16272071)
    I just think our government is so retarded. Why pussyfoot around with the color of peoples' hair and the variety of equipment they are packing in their underwear? We don't need 34 pieces of information. We just need one data field and then everyone will agree that the U.S. is eminently reasonably. And that field is:

    Terrorist: Yes/No?

    No wonder things are so fucked up. All this innuendo and inference. Just ask the damn question. Here's an example: "Do you believe in killing people for the glory of your God?" If the answer is, "yes", that person goes in the terrorist category, and we put "Yes" in the Terrorist data field.

    <napoleon>Well, Duh.</napoleon>

    • ...on the visa card (green one) they pretty much ask you just that.

      But the best one is...

      "Do you intend to partake in any illegal or immoral activities while in the United States? (y/n)"

      What counts as immoral anyway? And where's the "hopefully" option?
  • paranoia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) <[ten.cigolarret] [ta] [rret]> on Sunday October 01, 2006 @11:31PM (#16272799)
    I think this is more about paranoia and the desire of, in some cases, rather ignorant (but well meaning?) people to show who is the boss.

    Pushing innocent people around does not phase a terrorist. I doubt a layman threatening a lawyer with a law suit has much of an effect on the lawyer either. I'm sure some measures are effective and will serve to protect the public. However the question is with regard to the measures that are clearly not effective and serve only to harm innocent bystanders.

    Every time I have come from overseas, through an airport here in Canada, I feel like I am treated like a cow. Frankly I find it an insult. Frankly for international traffic between Canada and the USA I feel an open boarder is appropriate. How is it that 300+ million Americans can travel within the USA without this bullshit and 30+ million Canadians can travel within Canada without this bullshit, yet if a Canadian happens to visit the USA we are threatened by our boarder guards? And it happens on BOTH sides? The answer is very simple. This has almost NOTHING to do with security. Its all about collecting taxes... customes taxes.

    Canadian customs officials are far more interested in asserting their authority over Canadians than they are over Americans. I'm sure Americans will say the same thing.

    -------------

    The desire to control and assert "authority" reminds me of many years ago when I did programming in a small company of about 40 employees. We had 3 departments who used the computer. There was a terribly under-employed operator who felt it was his job to guard the printer. Well - he didn't call it that... he called it distributing the printouts. To put this into context... the company owned one (1) 300 line per minute printer and ran a mini computer with some terminals hooked up and did a daily backup. Who here would think this would require a staff of three (3) people? A systems programmer and two (2) operators? Anyone? Lord - what a joke!

    Any well managed company would have fired the bloke and told the systems programmer to do the backups... because there was NO NEED for a systems programmer... Besides the guy didn't know how to program, and there was no systems programming required anyways. He was a glorified and over paid systems administrator and not a very good one at that... but I digress.

    Our computer operator guarded the printer. Programmers had to routinely wait for hours for him to get off his ass and put a printout in the tray. User's had to wait also, but not as long. Once the printout was retrived from the tray we could confer with the user's if necessary and user's could confer with us. But we all had to wait while this guy took his sweet time. And of course for "security" reasons, programmers were not allowed to touch the printer. Programmers could write the code that ran all of the company's business interests... but we couldn't touch the printer.

    I did take over the administration of that mess. I got rid of the systems programmer and the operators and promoted the secretary and she did a fine job. Programers got their own printouts and were more than happy to put user's printouts in the proper bin! Wow! over $100,000 per year in salvaged salaries and no complaints after that.

    Just like the under-employed systems programmer and the two subordinate operators, customs officials will also strive to create a justification for their jobs. But does it really stand up to scrutiny?

    -----------

    Analogy to the boarder guards? Once you are in the USA you can travel without being treated like a cow. Once Americans are in Canada they can travel without being treated like a cow. But from one stockyard to the other... we get treated like cows.

    The thing is that if we try to gain select country priviledges with regard to boarder travel then we get accused of things that boarder on racizm. This simply leads to a police state. Frankly I do not think a "war on TERROR" justifies our authorities terrorizing innocent travelers to the extent that they do. Very little of what they have done in the past can be justified and its getting worse.
  • by Eivind ( 15695 ) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:56AM (#16273847) Homepage
    The thing is, terrorists aren't generally idiots. Everyone (everyone who cares to know anyway) know exactly which 31 pieces of information are gathered, so it's an relatively easy thing to make sure you come out looking golden.

    For example:

    • They collect info on if you have a return-fligth or only one-way. So, you make sure to book a return-fligth.
    • They want to know your email-adress, so you make sure to use an average-looking one never associated with anything fishy.
    • They specifically want to know if the ticket was paid for in cash. So you don't do that.
    • They want to know if you have a history of booking and then not-showing for fligths. So you make sure not to have such a history. (and if you do, you establish a new fake identity that doesn't.)
    The list is longer, infact the list is 31 points long. But literally 25 or so of the 31 datas are easy to manipulate by the determined flyer, and it's a near *certanity* that exactly that will be done. This means that even *if* profiling based on these data could bring something (which I doubt) it now *certainly* doesn't bring anything, since any data you do get on a terrorist is virtually guaranteed to be manipulated.

    Profiling works sorta, some of the time. It does however *NOT* work when used against an extremely small, but extremely determined group of people who:

    • A) Know they are being profiled.
    • B) Know what pieces of information are gathered.
    • C) Can easily change 80% or so of the information that are gathered.
    • D) Are very determined to do so to appear like an average passenger.
  • by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:39AM (#16274569)
    I suggest we return the "favour" like the Brasilians did: they separated all US citizens on airports and demanded a lot of forms to be filled in and fingerprints taken. Some that protested too loud were sent back to where they came from. This method seemed to help reduce stupid US demands, so the EU should consider it. After all, it wouldn't be the first American CIA operatives that kidnapped people on EU soil. Better register those potential threats to national security thouroughly.

...though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"

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