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EU signs interim air passenger data-sharing deal with US

[JURIST] The European Union [official website] on Monday formally signed an interim agreement [press release, PDF] giving the United States access to passenger name record data from European airlines conducting transatlantic flights. The US is expected to formally sign the deal later Monday while the EU will still need to submit the deal for all 25 EU member states to ratify at the national level. The interim deal, which was agreed upon on October 6, faced problems after EU and US officials failed to reach agreement [JURIST report] by a court-imposed October 1 deadline on how to share passenger information [Reuters report; DHS press release] without violating EU privacy laws. Since the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive], the US has required airlines landing in the country to supply the name, address, telephone number and credit card details of every passenger. In May, however, the European Court of Justice [official website] struck down the agreement as illegal [JURIST report] under EU law, forcing the US and the EU to begin negotiating a new deal [JURIST reports].

The new passenger name record agreement [BBC Q&A; DHS press release] also requires the US Department of Homeland Security [official website] to ask for passenger data, rather than receiving the data automatically upon departure. The interim agreement is slated to expire in July 2007, as EU and US officials struggle to come to a long-term agreement with the US likely arguing for more extensive data sharing [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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