Trans-Atlantic data sharing deal gets the U.S.-EU nod
Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – The European Union and the United States on Thursday initialed a new agreement on the transfer of air passengers’ data for flights across the Atlantic as the nod came from the European Parliament and European member states in the EU Council of Ministers.
Welcoming the signing of the agreement, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and lead negotiator for the United States government Jane Holl Lute said in a statement, “This agreement demonstrates how the United States is working with the European Union to fight terrorism and transnational threats, while respecting our commitment to civil liberties and privacy.”
Highlighting that the new deal would provide an efficient tool to fight serious transnational crime and terrorism, Lute said, “For the first time, all of our commitments on PNR have been incorporated into a single agreement that helps ensure the safety and security of the traveling public while providing legal certainty for airlines and assuring travelers that their privacy will be protected.”
The new agreement on Passenger Name Records (PNR) faced a lot of opposition in Europe, before getting the nod to replace the current agreement from 2007 when the the EU signed an agreement with the U.S. on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data, based on a set of commitments by the DHS.
On May 5, 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution where it requested a renegotiation of the agreement. On December 2, 2010, the Council of the European Union, comprised of all the EU representatives, authorized the Commission to negotiate a new agreement with the U.S. for the transfer of PNR data.
The long negotiating process made sure that the agreement included detailed provisions on data security to prevent loss of data or breaches of privacy.
Commenting on the safeguards incorporated in the new deal, Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said, “The new agreement contains robust safeguards for European citizens’ privacy, without undermining the effectiveness of the agreement in terms of EU and U.S. security.”
“Protection of personal data has been my priority since the beginning of the negotiations in December 2010, and I am satisfied with the result, since it represents a big improvement over the existing Agreement from 2007,” added EU Commissioner Malmström.