Global Insider: Privacy Concerns Complicate EU-U.S. Air Passenger Data Deal

In late-January an influential member of the European Parliament urged the European Union to reject a deal with the U.S. on sharing information about air travellers for anti-terror programs. In an email interview, Rocco Bellanova, a researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, and Paul De Hert, a professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Tilburg University, discussed the EU-U.S. passenger data-sharing agreement.

WPR: What is the background of the U.S.-EU passenger data-transfer deal?

Rocco Bellanova and Paul De Hert: The 2011 iteration of the so-called passenger name record (PNR) agreement currently under discussion at the European Parliament is the latest chapter in a diplomatic saga dating back to 2001. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the U.S. enacted a package of security measures that included widening the scope of the collection and processing of passenger data to cover all flights arriving in and departing from the U.S. However, the new U.S. requirements conflicted with EU legislation protecting personal data.

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