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US, EU sign new agreement on passenger data-sharing

[JURIST] The United States and the European Union Thursday signed an agreement [PDF text; EU backgrounder] on the regulation of trans-Atlantic airline passenger data-sharing [JURIST news archive], allowing the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] to continue using passenger data [DHS press release] when the existing interim agreement [JURIST report] expires at the end of July. Under the terms of the new agreement, air carriers will transmit passenger data directly to DHS within 15 minutes of a flight's departure for the US, and DHS will collect 19 pieces of data, which will be stored in an active database for a period of seven years, then eight years thereafter in an archive that can only be accessed under "exceptional circumstances" and under strict conditions. The previous agreement allowed the DHS to collect 34 pieces of information, but did not permit the DHS to retain the data as long.

Under the new agreement, EU citizens will be permitted to seek compensation and redress pursuant to the US Privacy Act [text; JURIST report]. In 2006, the European Court of Justice struck down [JURIST report] an agreement [PDF text] between the US and the EU because the European Commission's finding [decision, PDF] that the US had adequate security measures to protect the passenger data was without legal basis. AP has more.

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