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US Privacy Act to protect EU citizens under new passenger data-sharing agreement

[JURIST] EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini [official profile] told the European Parliament Monday that protections afforded under the US Privacy Act [text] will extend to European Union citizens as a part of a new airline passenger data-sharing agreement [JURIST news archive] between the US and EU. Frattini, hoping to ease concerns from EU parliament members that the new agreement [DHS press release; JURIST report] will erode European privacy standards, said that EU citizens will be able to seek compensation and redress pursuant to the privacy law. The new agreement, reached last month, essentially modifies and renews an existing interim agreement [JURIST report] set to expire at the end of July. It reduces the current 34 pieces of passenger data shared with US authorities to 19, but will allow the US Customs and Border Protection [official website] to hold passenger information for up to 15 years.

The new agreement will allow US and EU negotiators to continue work towards a permanent arrangement. In 2006, the European Court of Justice stuck 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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