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Chertoff presses airline data-sharing in EU meeting

[JURIST] US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff [official profile] met with the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee [official website; meeting materials (Agenda No 3)] Monday in his latest bid to convince the EU to allow the transfer of detailed information regarding passengers on US-bound flights to all relevant US government agencies. The current interim deal [JURIST report], which expires in July, allows up to 34 pieces of data, including names, addresses, travel itineraries, and credit card information, to be transferred to the US Customs and Border Protection Agency [official website] within 15 minutes of a flight's departure from an EU member state. The information may only be disseminated to other law enforcement agencies if the agencies have data security standards as stringent as those of the EU. Chertoff argued that information gathered from passengers must be available to agencies that do not meet data security standards if the need arises.

Some EU lawmakers have expressed skepticism, citing the lack of privacy protection in US agencies. If a deal is not reached by July, Washington has warned that fines against European airlines could begin to accumulate up to $6000 per passenger and that those airlines could even lose US landing rights. The current interim agreement replaced a 2004 agreement [PDF text], which was struck down [JURIST report] by the European Court of Justice in May as lacking a sufficient legal basis. AP has more.

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