[JURIST] Slovenian Interior Minister Dragutin Mate said Friday that a European Union plan to archive and exchange air passenger data [JURIST report] had general support among EU ministers and could take effect as early as 2009. Interior ministers from EU member countries discussed the Passenger Name Record (PNR) plan at a Friday conference [press release] in Slovenia, the current holder of the Presidency of the EU [official website]. Privacy advocates have been critical of the plan and EU officials have expressed similar concerns. EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini [official profile], meanwhile said the system was "absolutely necessary."
Frattini announced the plan last November as part of a package of counter-terrorism proposals [press release, JURIST report]. In July, the EU and US reached a new agreement on passenger data-sharing [JURIST report] under which air carriers will transmit passenger data directly to the US Department of Homeland Security within 15 minutes of a European flight's departure for the US. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.