back to article US plan to hold EU passenger data for 15 yrs 'unlawful'

A reported plan to allow the US to retain the personal details of inbound EU air passengers for 15 years would be unlawful, lawyers for the European Commission have said, according to a newspaper report. The Guardian, which reported last month that the US wanted to keep the information for 15 years, has reported that …


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  1. ForthIsNotDead


    "US plan to hold EU passenger data for 15 yrs 'unlawful'

    Should be:

    "US plan to hold EU passenger data for 15 years 'unlawful'"

    For goodnes sake - this is the internet - we can afford an 'e' and 'a'.

    Other than that, right (or should that be write?) on!

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    What does it matter ?

    The USA will keep the data for as long as it wants, regardless of what anyone else wants.

    Stop them taking it in the first place - the excuse of terrorism is what they use for almost everything these days.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Who needs the article?

      That sounded like the point of the article, at least as I read it. They are likely not going to accept an agreement that provides the americans the data under these terms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think the point...

        ... that the chap was making, was that the agreement is irrelevant. Even if the US "AGREE" they will lie as they always do, and simply do whatever they want.

        Any data that has made it's way to the US, will forever reside there irrespective of agreements.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I have said it before and will say it again

    Adding hay does not make finding needles easier. Indiscriminately adding data (especially when including fingerprints) concerning ALL passengers to a database which is intended for analysis of crimes will lead to a disproportionate number of false positives, as anyone with any knowledge of pattern recognition should know.

    I suggest we follow Brazil, and take the finger prints of ALL US passengers visiting our shores (and not with fancy scanners, use ink!!)

    BTW, HOLLAND is not an EU member; The Netherlands is. Calling Groningen where I live Holland is like saying Glasgow is in England.

  4. BenR
    Big Brother

    Are they having a laugh?

    <quote>"Under the proposed Directive airlines would have to send information such as passengers' home addresses, mobile phone numbers, frequent flyer information, email addresses and credit card details to countries before its planes can land."</quote>

    All this information being bandied about even if you're *NOT* linked to terrorism or serous crime? Really?

    And what's even worse, as has recently been proven, Government data storage isn't really as secure as people make out, so it's not long before this rich seam of data is mined for all it's worth!

    Oh, and surprise surprise, the UK is one of only two or three countries supporting the Merkins in not only getting hold of EU passenger data, but then keeping it in a database for 15 bloody years!

    Really - you'd think these duly elected representatives could at least pretend to share the concerns of the people who got them there!

  5. Richard 33

    Don't give it to them

    It's highly likely they're keeping it for as long as they like anyway. What are we going to do? Send in the EU swat team to check? Of course not.

    So the only solution is don't give it to them in the first place. If they don't want anyone going there, let's see how long that lasts before their tourist industries lobby Congress to change the rules.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Pattern Recognition

      The pattern you recognized in haystacks is called "Enumerating Badness".

      The pattern I recognized in Apple, Facebook, Google, MS et al. (props to Eric S., again, and again, and again) is called "Bull Shit". Remember 'You have the right to be forgotten' ? In a secure world, obviously not. I'm doubting that 'You have the right to be forgotten after 15 years' would have made the Press Release.

    2. g e

      And then

      They'll immediately ban EU flights into the USA costing EU airlines a shitload of money and EU companies too.

      Then they'll have to give in and allow the data so flights can resume and demand equally silly quid pro quo stuff.

      Don't buy from US companies (Kraft, Apple, MuckDonalds, MS, etc). Then EU companies have less reason to deal with the USA, meaning flights to the USA become less important and tourists will always find somewhere else to fly to... Yeah some stuff is really US-only like CPU's but you can always buy a SONY or Samsung laptop to keep it in, HTC / LG instead of Apple or Motorola, etc...

      The will do whatever they want regardless but consumers don't have to help fund their economy.

  6. UkForest

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "A leaked document from an EU meeting last week showed that France, Germany, Italy, Holland and others are opposed to the proposed deal with the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Estonia the only countries backing it"...

    May I be the first to slap our sensible European friends on the back in congratulations for standing up to the US, whilst we bend over and pick up the soap!...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why Give Employment to the USA's Irritation, Data Thieves and Miners Dept

    Given the attitude of the passport checkers of the USA Irritation department, (I am sure they think of themselves as the immigration people, but hey anyone can make a mistake, just like they do) why would anyone want to go near the United States of Annoyance anyway?

  8. ukbabz

    Good idea, but utterly pointless

    Whilst I applaud the EU for standing up for the 'privacy' of travellers, I do question how effective it is going to be.

    I wonder how popular it will be for passengers from the EU handing over this information manually after a transatlantic flight, the queues for US customs is bad enough without re-iterating the PNR data to a surly TSA employee.

    You want in to the US, then you have to hand over the rules and store it by their rules..

  9. Anonymous Coward

    So what

    I realy don't have a problem with them keeping my details, not like it's not already been kept before in the past for people pre computer days. Lets face it - they have to account for everything so there is always a audit trail in some form or another you could tie up with a name. Just case of haveing that data in a more organised way to accomodate such abilities. Nothing new here and personlay I don't have a issue. Frankly those that do take issues probably aint even been to the country. Lets face it the only thing changing here is people's insight into what goes on and a general panic reaction. ONLY real issue I have is data entry into computers these days is nothing like the old days with double data entry, we just assume a low paid individual will always enter data 100% right all the time, THAT is were the issue realy is - mistakes in the data, not how long it's retained.

    All that said if some people wish to take issue and this has or effect's them (IE they have traveled) then ask yourself what aspect of this do you object to. The fact it happens or the fact it happens for X number of years and then ask yourself why is that and what the difference is. But for me it's invalid data/mistakes enterying that data I have more issue with than any level of data retention.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You have to have spent time in the US before and after 9/11 to understand just how far the land of the free has fallen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        In becoming the land of the not very free they've just let the terrorists win.

        Mind you we're not a great deal better. For a laugh take a wet film (and empty) SLR camera into the City of London and snap away at public buildings, security guard...mongs.

        You'll very quickly find out just how unfree the UK has become.

        and the sad thing is we've done it to ourselves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What decade do you live in?

      PNR data is entered by passengers into airline/travel websites, collated by the airlines and then shipped to the US ELECTRONICALLY. Y'know... in binary form. There are no low-paid minions involved anywhere, unless the plethora of US-based three-letter agencies employ low-paid minions to mine data.

      So if the information in the PNR is incorrect, it's because the passenger (i.e. you) entered it incorrectly, or the travel agent did. And that would be flagged up at the airport anyway.

      PNR information is as correct as it can get. You don't really expect airlines to PRINT it, and FAX it to the US, do you?

  10. John Savard Silver badge


    The United States could just tell Europe that if it doesn't give full data on every passenger flying to the United States from Europe, and allow the U.S. to keep it and do what they like with it, then they can forget about anyone coming to the United States from Europe by air.

    Or, on the other hand, they could fully comply with European data protection laws on European data... and as the passengers leave the airplanes, copy down their names from their passports. That, of course, would be data collected in America, subject to American laws.

    Of course, over here, data protection laws don't seem to make much sense. They intrude on what people can do with their own computers and their own filing systems. And the dictators who would misuse data to persecute people wouldn't obey those laws anyways, so they only hobble democratic governments in going after real criminals.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Remind me again?

    9/11... was perpetrated by people holding US visas, on US domestic flights.

    That being the case... how much data about US domestic flights is Europe given to mine for economic intelligence^h^h ^h^h ^h^h ^h^h security reasons...?

    Am I right in thinking the answer is, none what-so-ever? If so, why are we gifting this valuable economic intelligence to the Merkins?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      But they WEREN'T...

      US Citizens. Therefore, they HAD to have entered the country at some point, which is the point of the exercise: to track who's coming and going and matching it up against known bad guys so as to raise the appropriate alarms. Also, I recall that NONE of the 9/11 terrorists were RESIDENT aliens (aka Green Card Holders) and so would not have been in the country for an extended period (say over ten years). So the USA is going to want the list of names one way or the other. If the EU won't accede, they can just create delays for their citizens at US customs as DHS does it themselves.

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    UK, Ireland, Sweden and Estonia

    A curious "Coalition of the willing" (to hand over damm near any amount of data) is it not?

    Were these who were also mad keen on ISP having to hunt down copyright violations?

    This groups sounds strangely familiar....

    And as other have noted on the 9/11 perpetrators *domestic* US flights were seized by foreigners with *valid* visas.+

    And by the way. Osabana bin Laden is *dead*. US forces killed him.


    Thumbs down for this US behavior. It'd be thumbs up for European stance (the above countries excepted).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      UK & Ireland are easily explained...

      The UK and Ireland have had to deal with terrorism in the past and data mining has been a big deal for them. Ireland is anxious to keep its advantageous deal with the UK going (immigration controls from Ireland into the UK are non-existent).

      Sweden I'm a bit puzzled by considering its traditionally politically-neutral stance, but then again, if the Wikileaks argument about Julian Assange has any credence, it's likely to be because Sweden has several lovely deals with the US it would like to keep (like Saab's access to US technology for the Gripen fighter).

      Estonia I'm really puzzled by... eager to cozy up to the US too?

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        experience of terrorism is not the point

        Spain has ETA, Germany had Baader-Meinhof, Italy had the Brigate Rosse, France had the 'Algerie Francaise' wingnuts etc etc. These countries have found out that the way to deal with terrorism is intelligence on the ground, not random data grabs.... an I'll bet that the cops doing the real anti-IRA work in UK and Eire know that too.

        UK, Eire and the others are just selling out their citizens to score brownie points with the yanks

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Spain grabs data, too

          >Spain has ETA

          >[they] have found out the way to deal with terrorism is [...] not random data grabs

          Spaniard here.

          Police is allowed to grab your NIC card, compulsory in Spain, with data such as birthday or parents' names. They can do it anytime, anywhere and without any reason at all. If you're a foreigner, they'll ask your for the passport or any identity document valid in Schengen area. They can, and do take note of all this data. They routinely do this in near-border areas, not only the Basque Country (for ETA) but Catalonia too, and almost for every train arriving at Irun and Portbou border stations from France.

          Also, if you stay at night in a hotel, hostel, camping or whatever, you'll need to leave your personal data to the local staff to be handed to police officers, who will collect this data and let them know where you are spending your holidays.

          AC, although risking a detention for using the terrorist cyberweapon of a Guy Fawkes's mask.

      2. John Savard Silver badge

        Experience of Occupation

        As a country that endured decades of brutal repression and occupation by Russia, of course Estonia would seek the closest of ties with the United States, which was the main country to resist Russia during the Cold War era.

    2. John Savard Silver badge

      One Terrorist Is Dead

      Osama bin Laden is dead. In case you haven't noticed, al-Qaeda still exists; it had more than one member.

      When the world's one billion Muslims, without exception, will not dare to raise their hands in aggressive violence against a non-Muslim, then we won't have anything to worry about. As events in places from Nigeria to Egypt to Indonesia prove, we're not there yet.

      Look at how the blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used against Christians there for one example.

      But then, even Britain isn't fully in compliance with the First Amendment; the Church of England has a status which directly violates the Establishment Clause. Yes, the U.S. constitution is only legally binding in the U.S., but the First Amendment represents a universal moral principle of religious freedom, binding on all people in all times and places.

      Which reminds me: when are you handing back the churches and monasteries stolen by Henry VIII?

  13. Bugs R Us

    What's the big deal?

    I am a frequent flyer and as a consultant I visit many large corporations which also request a lot of personal information about visitors before allowing them to enter their data centers and workplaces. It's modern life; people just need to accept it. The only real solution is to outlaw religion, that would solve most of the world's problems and then we wouldn't need to track fanatics.

    1. Stratman


      "The only real solution is to outlaw religion, that would solve most of the world's problems and then we wouldn't need to track fanatics."

      Yep, that'll work. Because outlawing terrorism has certainly stopped that, hasn't it.

  14. Adair

    Bugs R Us @ 1935,

    are you for real? Please re-read what you posted and apply yourself to the category question: 'nutjobs' and 'people who have religious faith'; do either of these categories exist totally, or even substantially, within the other?

    I'll save you some time: answer = 'No'. In fact a wonderfully small part of the 'people who have religious faith' group shares space with 'nutjobs' group, and an even smaller subset of that fall within the 'actively violent religious-nutjob' category.

    I think you may well find that it isn't 'religion' per se that is the source of your angst, but 'people', particularly a relatively tiny group who use 'religion' as a justification for their bad behaviour. If you took that justification away they would almost certainly find another in short order.

    As for the matter in hand: unless compelled to visit the USA I strongly recommend travel via Singapore/Hong Kong, etc. where transit passengers are treated as normal human beings rather than inconveniences/criminals-who-just-haven't-been-caught-yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is a title

      True, many nutjobs aren't religious in their nutjobbery; Take a look at the nutjob that hangs out outside your local library growling at cars and smelling of vomit, though, for example, and ask yourself a few simple questions; "How many planes has he flown into office buildings?" "How many times has he blown himself up on a busy commuter train?" Hard to see what the "justification" would be that they would feed to the chaps on the ground if you took away the whole 72(?) virgins in the afterlife nonsense.

      Perhaps the difference is more quantitative than qualitative, but the fact is as nutjobs go, religious ones tend to be orders of magnitude more destructive than the vanilla ones. This is a problem inherent in religion, being that any religion's principle message is "We're God's chosen," with the corollary," and you're all scum."

      Apologising for them doesn't help.

    2. wayward4now
      Black Helicopters

      Bugs R Us

      "As for the matter in hand: unless compelled to visit the USA I strongly recommend travel via Singapore/Hong Kong, etc. where transit passengers are treated as normal human beings rather than inconveniences/criminals-who-just-haven't-been-caught-yet."

      True, but they do have some rather draconian laws regarding people who do arrive and commit a crime there. Ergo, most would not desire to be subjected to one of the thousand versions of hell they have. :)

    3. Def Silver badge

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Actually, I'd say it is organised religion that is the problem. Organised religion, historically, has been about manipulating people's beliefs as a means to pacify and control the masses. Inciting hatred and violence towards non-believers is a big part of how religion continues to thrive and survive.

      I should point out I have absolutely no problem with someone believing whatever they want to believe. I do have a problem with organised religion controlling my life and saying what I should believe. Whether you have personal beliefs or not still doesn't change the fact that nearly every aspect of your life is still defined, manipulated, and controlled by religion in some way or another.

      Is it Friday yet?

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    Security theatre

    The farce that never ebds.

  16. Melanie Winiger

    It keeps me employed

    And many many others...we should be grateful in these offshoring times we have so much work to maintain and develop all this data transmission to that "haystack" in the USA.

    With a little English Sarcasm - I'm learning how you do it .-)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Actually it's more of a pantomime

      Odd that in the UK we employ great numbers of minimum wage tards to do our security and they turn out to be complete idiots. Protecting us from the likes of scary Optimus Prime T shirts and the like.

      So I agree security in the UK is either a farce or a pantomime. Sans the baggy trousers of course.

  17. Anteaus

    EU worse...

    If you study what the EU directive includes, they even intend to give your credit card details to other countries. I would have thought it was illegal to pass anyone's credit card details to a third party without consent. That could expose you to all sorts of scams.

    Not to mention that providing bulk email addresses to slightly-dodgy destinations is just perfect for a spammer to bribe an official to allow them to be harvested as they arrive.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No thats a Briliiant idea

      If Osama Bin Dead blows up stuff we can just bill him for it. Genius!

  18. Sam Therapy

    Ben Franklin said it best...

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    I guess it doesn't count if you're a non US citizen. In fact, it doesn't seem to count for much if you are a US citizen, either.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    But let's find out what their excuse is for *fifteen* years


    *Why* 15 years.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Explained in this thread

      The 9/11 hijackers flew from within the U.S. - but they came from outside the U.S. into the U.S. a number of years previously.

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