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European Commission wants to keep limits on US use of passenger data

[JURIST] The European Commission (EC) [official website] said Monday that it will seek to keep restrictions on the US government's use of EU airline passenger information in the new agreement being negotiated between the European Union (EU) [official website] and the United States. An interim agreement [JURIST report] signed in October 2006 and expiring in July 2007 gives the US access to passenger record data - including names, addresses, telephone numbers and credit card details - from European airlines conducting transatlantic flights. In talks [AP report] last week with German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble [official profile], US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff [White House profile] emphasized the importance of the data in preventing terrorism and asserted that the US desired more flexibility in the use of the information, which, in its current form [BBC Q&A; DHS press release], limits its use and the amount of time it can be retained and requires the US to affirmatively request the data.

The original passenger data agreement was struck down as illegal [JURIST report] under EU privacy laws in May 2006 by the European Court of Justice [official website]. Reuters has more.

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