EU court rules in favor of terrorist privacy

AP/NY Times:

The European Union's highest court ruled Tuesday that an EU-U.S. passenger data deal was illegal, saying it did not provide adequate privacy protection for European travelers.

The trans-Atlantic agreement compels European airlines to turn over 34 pieces of information about each passenger -- including name, address and credit card details -- within 15 minutes of departure for the United States.

Washington argues that the information is vital to combat terrorism, and warned that airlines would face fines and a loss of landing rights if they did not comply.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, however, found that the data would not be ''adequately protected'' by the U.S., and overruled a previous EU finding.

It backed a challenge from the European Parliament claiming that the EU view ''does not constitute an appropriate legal basis for the decision approving the conclusion of the agreement and, in both cases, that fundamental rights have been infringed.''

...

This decision is idiotic. It is proof that some in Europe are not serious about preventing terrorist attacks. You would think that they would have to demonstrate some abuse of the records to show that privacy was an issue. You also have to question why it is OK for the airline to have the information, but not OK for law enforcement to have the information for the limited purpose os screening the information to see if a mass murder is aboard a plane. If I were a passenger on one of those flights I would want the goverment to be looking at that data to make sure another Mohammed Atta is not on my flight. Privacy paranoia in these circumstances makes no sense. You already give up your right to privacy when you and your baggage are searched before boarding. When you travel on public transportation you waive privacy.

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