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EU Council Adopts Air Passenger Data Sharing Deal With US

The European Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on Friday adopted a new agreement on the transfer of EU air passengers' personal data to the U.S. authorities.

It was approved by the European Parliament on April 19.

The deal sets legal conditions and covers issues such as storage periods, use, data protection safeguards and administrative and judicial redress. The agreement, which will apply for seven years, will replace a provisional deal in place since 2007.

The agreement will most likely enter into force on June 1.

The goal of the agreement is to set a legal framework for the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) data by carriers operating passenger flights between the European Union and the United States to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the subsequent use of that data by the U.S. DHS. The goal is to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorist offenses and related crimes as well as other serious cross-border crimes punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of at least three years.

The EU currently has agreements on the transfer and use of passenger name records (PNR) with Australia, Canada and the United States. In May 2010, the European Parliament decided to postpone its vote on the request for consent on these existing PNR agreements with the U.S. and Australia. These two agreements have therefore not been concluded and have been applied on a provisional basis since 2007 and 2008, respectively.

In a resolution, Parliament demanded that new agreements should be negotiated with the U.S. and Australia as well as with Canada, with which a PNR agreement has been in force since 2006.

While the PNR agreement with Australia has been concluded, negotiations with Canada are still ongoing.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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