US Gets Continued Access to EU Passenger Data

Government Regulation, Safety/Security

Late last week, the US and the European Union (EU) came to a temporary agreement allowing the US access to passenger data flights coming from the EU to the US.

You may remember my previous post on this back at the end of August. The original agreement was struck down by the EU in May, so both governments had been at the bargaining table ever since. It appears they’ve come to a compromise.

According to this article, in the past agreement, the US would be able to actively pull the information from airline systems. The big change this time is that now the US will have to wait for the airlines to send the information to them instead. Also, the US will now only be able to share the data with law enforcement agencies that have similarly high data protection standards.

In my previous post, I was still on the fence about this, because it requires giving up privacy. Since that time, I’ve decided I’m in favor of it.

Reservation data should be able to be analyzed to find red flags. It’s this type of behind-the-scenes work that will actually help stop terrorism from happening as opposed to the security screening process at the airport which only mildly discourages it. It does involve giving up some level of privacy, but as long as there is no abuse (and hopefully there will be plenty of watchdogs on this one), it’s worth it.

This deal is still temporary and only runs through July 2007. They hope to have a permanent deal in place by then.

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