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EU and US Reach Deal On Airline Data

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the coming-together-in-big-brotherly-love dept.

132

gambit3 writes "According to the BBC, the EU and the US have struck a new deal for sharing airline passenger data. It will replace a deal struck down by the European Court of Justice in May, which allowed the US its own access to passenger data. Under the deal, the EU will 'push' the data — 34 pieces of information per passenger — to the US, replacing the current 'pull' system. The new deal will expire at the end of July 2007."

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132 comments

What are the 34 data items? (2, Interesting)

pelago (957767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337207)

What are the 34 data items?

Re:What are the 34 data items? (2, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337237)

What are the 34 data items?

I don't know but I am sure US customs will make sure that retrieving at least one of them will involve a large and cold hand, a latex glove and a rectal search.

Re:What are the 34 data items? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337319)

I don't know but I am sure US customs will make sure that retrieving at least one of them will involve a large and cold hand, a latex glove and a rectal search.

It is only for health purposes. US Customs doesn't want anyone coming into the country with hiccups. It's really just a public service.

Re:What are the 34 data items? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337257)

I bet "Passenger is wearing a turban?" is in there.

Re:What are the 34 data items? (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337895)

I bet "Passenger is wearing a turban?" is in there.

Yup. Got to watch out for all those Sikh terrorists...

Re:What are the 34 data items? (2, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338381)

How about "Passenger is wearing a t-shirt is another language so he must be threat."?

It's certainly an effective means of distinguishing potential terrorists. If you don't look, act, and think just like you MUST be a terrorist or terrorist supporter. I never thought I'd see the day when my president said that.

Re:What are the 34 data items? (1)

DevilDoc (1004278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338471)

Why shouldn't we start doing some profiling? How many little gray haired caucasian grandmothers have tried a terrorist act lately? There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. I myself pray to Budda, Mohammed, Jesus-H-Christ and any other religous huncho I can think of.

Solution (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337317)

Unless the data itself has dramatically changed, I really can't see any functional difference. How is the following any better?

In the old system, the US pulled 34 items of data about each passenger.
In the new system, the EU pushes 34 items of data about each passenger.

Strange coincidence?

Re:What are the 34 data items? (1, Interesting)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337969)

I don't know all of them but they include:

- Name
- Passport no. and nationality
- Creditcard no.
- DOB and POB
- Food preference
- Religion
- Seat (preference)

I wonder how this is going to work though, I've never had an airliner ask me for my religion and if they would, they could file me with all the other Pastafarians on the flight. Good luck profiling that.

Re:What are the 34 data items? (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338835)

Got some documentation of that? Or, are you just trying to cause an uproar?

Re:What are the 34 data items? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16338971)

List is here [bbc.co.uk] (scroll to the end of the article)

Religion is not one of the items, and it's hard to imagine how they could find out your religion without asking. They could try to guess a religion based on name, but it's impossible to prevent them from doing that.

Nor does it include place of birth or biometric info like eye color, hair color, height, etc. Of course, the POB and biometrics could be found out from your passport upon entry to US (or any other country).

In fact the same 34 items have been exchanged for a few years now. This disagreement was because the arrangement was due to time out. Apparently the items themselves haven't changed, but the procedure for providing them has. Though frankly I don't understand how "push" and "pull" make any difference here. Maybe it's just so that both sides can save face with their respective publics.

Re:What are the 34 data items? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16339481)

I sense the possibility for a /. poll:

Religion you claim when asked by an airline:
+ Agnostic
+ Christian
+ Cult of Cthulhu
+ Hindu
+ Jewish
+ Muslim
+ Pagan
+ Rastafari
+ Satanic
+ Other
+ I'm atheist, you insensitive clod!

Re:What are the 34 data items? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16339559)

Actually, religion isn't mentioned (it's basically unknowable) and IIRC, religion-indicating food preferences (kosher, halal...) are excluded from the data transfer.

It does include name, address, passport and visa details, credit card number, frequent flyer number, address in US, details about who paid for the tickets, links to other people who had tickets bought in the same transaction, the complete itinerary, whether a hotel, rental car etc. was purchased in the same transaction, and I think something about the passenger's flight history with that airline.

Slashdot and AC Reach Deal on Frost Posts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337211)

news at 11

now I need to go drop a deuce

34 pieces of information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337225)

Why exactly is that much data needed?

Most forms request only a fraction of that amount. I don't even think I've provided that much information for credit card or loan applications.

Push? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337229)

Wasn't push technology a still-born concept in the mid 90s? I tried PointCast once, and only once. I'm glad push technology died. Push technology, or the uncontrollable incoming flow of content, just does not work on the Internet, thats what TV is for. What's that? I'm only vaguely on topic? Oh sorry... I guess I should be grateful they (the EU) aren't using more recently developed methods of data streaming. It could be worse, passenger data could be available as an RSS feed!

Re:Push? (2, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337431)

Who says they're using the internet? There are many other technologies (Tux, MQ, X.25, MATIP, P1024, etc.) to choose from when exchanging data between remote hosts, and one can use IP technology and still not use the public internet. Some companies have their own internal IP networks, and dedicated point-to-point data lines are still very common in some industries.

Commercial airlines and governments use "push" technology heavily, as they have been since the mid-1960's (and maybe even before). That's what an unsolicited data feed is by definition. Airline weather is sent that way, all airline ACARS messages are sent that way, FLIFO data is sent that way internally between internal airline systems and between airlines, passenger data is sent that way between reservations systems and the recipients of said data, bag information is sent that way, etc.

Re:Push? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337829)

To push it over to the US they just have to put the engines on the rear of the plane. That's all.

Re:Push? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337933)

Yup. Push technology is completely dead. No one ever makes telephone calls. I can't remember the last time anyone ever sent an SMS message. Radio and television were stillborn. And only old people send emails. Certainly no one uses IM.

Re:Push? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339253)

Push technology was going strong before you ever touched a computer, probably. It's called UUCP and it made USENET go round for a long, long time. Mind you, it was around before I ever SAW a computer :P

So what's changed? (4, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337239)

Old system: US pulls 34 items of data about each passenger.
New system: EU pushes 34 items of data about each passenger.

Unless the data itself has dramatically changed, I really can't see any functional difference. So how is this any better?

Re:So what's changed? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337269)

nothing, it's just that they did not get their wish for even more data granted.

personally I'd like to see proof that ANY effect has come out of this other than of course a massive breach of privacy.

jacquesm posting on the road as AC

Re:So what's changed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337479)

Since when has documenting who is entering the country been a breach of privacy?

Re:So what's changed? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340363)

Since when has documenting who is entering the country been a breach of privacy?

that depends on what data is being documented, what that data is being used for, and who has access to that data.

Re:So what's changed? (4, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337313)

Well, the US can't go rummaging around for unrelated information in the second case -- they only get what they're given.

Re:So what's changed? (0)

lorg (578246) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337385)

Nothing. Basically all of Europe just (re)joined the mile high club since we just bent over and took.

Re:So what's changed? (1)

siljeal (841276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337473)

The only change is that the whole thing is legal now. As if the US really gave much of a crap about European concerns regarding data protection. Calling this a 'deal' is weird enough, though. Or would you call it 'reaching a deal' if you gave a mugger the very wallet he demanded from you at gunpoint?

Re:So what's changed? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337749)

The only change is that the whole thing is legal now.

The previous agreement was claimed to be legal until the court pointed out that it plainly wasn't. This agreement is only legal until the court again (after a long and expensive process) points out that it plainly isn't.

The only change is that it's changed. And that is the point.

Re:So what's changed? (1)

DevilDoc (1004278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339119)

How do you figure this deal was made at gun point? Nothing changed except how the data is moved. Don't you have anyhting better to do with your life than to blame the US for all evil in the world. I am not claiming that we are perfect, far from it but have you seen a video of a American cutting off the head of an innocent in the name of God or flying a jet into a skyscraper? I guess it won't matter in another 50 years or so when all of Europe is part of a muslim Caliphate. All the muslim fascists want is for us to convert, submit, or die. I would think that the Europeans would be even more concerned with this than we here in the US since your muslim populations are rising at an exponental pace. However, it seems that America is the bad guy until the time you need our boys to come spill their blood and bail you out once again. Its about time that the world recognizes the difference between the perceived threat and the true threat. Those who forget history are destined to repeat it.

Re:So what's changed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16339843)

European Muslim Caliphate.

lol @ you

You REALLY should get out more. Stop reading LGF.

Really.

Re:So what's changed? (1)

DevilDoc (1004278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340313)

Maybe you should do 2 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan like I did and talk to some of the fanatics as I patched up their kids. Or you could stay in your little dillusional world and let my brothers and sisters in arms protect your families and ways of life. Its too bad I lost friends who were better than you so that could laugh at me. Really.

Re:So what's changed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16340485)

You do not have experience to dictate or even intelligently suggest rounded policy to any governmental group apart from a damned junta by dint of service in an armed force of one of the nations invading those areas.

Re:So what's changed? (1)

DevilDoc (1004278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340913)

You don't know my experience and I can hypothesize on data extrapolated from current population projections and from sources freely avaliable via multible media outlets. That is one of the freedoms we have in my country. If the Europeans aren't afraid of their muslim populations why cancel Mozart concerts? Why put up with riots over cartoons? Why hasn't the EU helped out in the Darfor crisis? Because of fear of the inevitable. To quote the movie Braveheart "If we can't chase them out, we will breed them out". The fight against muslim fascism will eclipse the cold war and the fight against the Nazis.

Re:So what's changed? (1)

tonigonenstein (912347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337715)

Unless the data itself has dramatically changed, I really can't see any functional difference.
push and pull explained [netscape.com]

Re:So what's changed? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340989)

That does a good job of sort of explaining things, but it's in a web context while the datafeeds being described in the article are almost certainly not related to the web (or http) at all.

Push datafeeds exist in several forms. Some require explict application-level acknowledgements for each message and employ multi-priority queueing mechanisms (allowing high-priority messages to be sent ahead of everyone else), while others simply push messages into the ether and efectively forget about them (a response might not be required, or a delayed response might result in the sender simply resending the original message again).

When I worked at NWA, the main system I worked on (WorldFlight) had a number of push datafeeds coming into the system from other systems both inside and outside the airline, and those datafeeds contained such important data elements as hourly station weather and various weather alerts from NWS and satellite feeds, passenger and bag info from the reservation system, crew info from the crew system, MEL/CDL (the "what's broken" list) information from performance engineering, OOOI (Out/Off/On/In) messages and position reports from aircraft via ACARS, etc.

The system also pushed out current flight status information to various systems, airport displays, databases, and so on, pushed ACARS messages to ARINC and SITA for transmission to flying aircraft, etc.

*None* of that stuff is "pulled".

Re:So what's changed? (5, Informative)

Decado (207907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337761)

RTFA Please

The new system is better from an EU standpoint because the data is sent to a single secure source. They no longer have to worry about it being pulled from an untrusted source. There is no longer an external logon to the EU system that could potentially reveal private information. Instead it is pushed securely to a trusted homeland security site which is then responsible for distributing it within the US. Because the EU is no longer a risk for distributing private information it is OK within the EU. If there is a privacy breach it won't be the fault of the EU and that makes the EU authorities happy. From the standpoint of the consumer the same data still flies around but that was never the issue, the issue was that there was potential for the EU system to leak sensitive data which was unacceptable.

Re:So what's changed? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339501)

If there is a privacy breach it won't be the fault of the EU and that makes the EU authorities happy. From the standpoint of the consumer the same data still flies around but that was never the issue, the issue was that there was potential for the EU system to leak sensitive data which was unacceptable.
I don't think you're correct. The issue was not only about an EU leak of information.

Their strong privacy laws prohibit them from disseminating information to countries without strong privacy protections. It was/is against their laws to give out data to organizations or governments that may in turn leak it.

That was one of the major sticking points and the article makes several mentions of this fact, which is why The U.S. & EU have just another temporary deal.

Legally, the only way the EU can create a permanent program is if the U.S. upgrades their privacy protections for any and all EU passenger data. It is either that, or the EU must either water down their privacy laws or include an exception for the U.S. (neither of which is likely)

Re:So what's changed? (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339639)

the issue was that there was potential for the EU system to leak sensitive data which was unacceptable.

Plausable deniability? There's no way that the data leak was OUR fault. Even though we were spineless and gave it to the US to begin with...

Re:So what's changed? (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338635)

New system: EU pushes 34 items of data about each passenger.

... and agrees that the US DHS can share the data with the FBI, other govt agencies are supposed to get access in the future. Best part of it: German minister of justice welcomes the agreement, as a high level of data protection is maintained ... she therefore has no objections at all.

Brigitte Zypries (SPD) begrüßte die Einigung zwischen EU und USA. "Es bleibt bei einem hohen Datenschutz-Niveau", sagte sie heute am Rande des EU-Justizministertreffens in Luxemburg. "Deshalb habe ich keine Bedenken." [spiegel.de]

Spineless traitors.

34 data fields (missing from article) (5, Informative)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337311)

The data fields can be found from this earlier article [bbc.co.uk].

  • Information about the passenger: name; address; date of birth; passport number; citizenship; sex; country of residence; US visa number (plus date and place issued); address while in the US; telephone numbers; e-mail address; frequent flyer miles flown; address on frequent flyer account; the passenger's history of not showing up for flights
  • Information about the booking of the ticket: date of reservation; date of intended travel; date ticket was issued; travel agency; travel agent; billing address; how the ticket was paid for (including credit card number); the ticket number; which organisation issued the ticket; whether the passenger bought the ticket at the airport just before the flight; whether the passenger has a definite booking or is on a waiting list; pricing information; a locator number on the computer reservation system; history of changes to the booking
  • Information about the flight itself: seat number; seat information (eg aisle or window); bag tag numbers; one-way or return flight; special requests, such as requests for special meals, for a wheelchair, or help for an unaccompanied minor
  • Information about the passenger's itinerary: other flights ticketed separately, or data on accommodation, car rental, rail reservations or tours.
  • Information about other people: the group the passenger is travelling with; the person who booked the ticket

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337757)

frequent flyer miles flown;

That's scary.

the passenger's history of not showing up for flights

Why do they want to know that?

how the ticket was paid for (including credit card number)

That's even scarier.

whether the passenger bought the ticket at the airport just before the flight

Because terrorists never plan anything out in advance, they just buy the ticket at the last minute, right? It seems like they want to know if this is a person fleeing from law enforcement.

special requests, such as requests for special meals, for a wheelchair, or help for an unaccompanied minor

'Cause if the passenger requests certain dietary restrictions, they can usually nail down what religion he is.

pricing information

Hmmm...now why does it matter how much the person paid for the ticket? Just exactly who are they selling this information to?

You just gotta love those evil, corrupt bastards that run the U.S. Government!

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338265)

I'll try to think of justifications for the ones I can. Frequent flyer miles flown;

Presumably frequent flyers are more likely to be businessmen

the passenger's history of not showing up for flights

Weird one this.

how the ticket was paid for (including credit card number)

Is a lot of tickets are bought witht he same CC, then I suppose this will show something. Or maybe they have some "suspicious" credit cards. That just makes it seem scarier.

whether the passenger bought the ticket at the airport just before the flight

I agree with you on this one. Sounds more like a fishing expedition. I expect that terrorists will book flights some time in advance though. I doubt this is particulalry conistent

special requests, such as requests for special meals, for a wheelchair, or help for an unaccompanied minor

I bet they're only interested in the meal requests. But the terrorists know this. Best bet for terrorists is to opt for the vegetarian option. Unlikely to offend any dietry requirements and common enough in the western world that it would be fairly ineffective.

pricing information

Businessmen wil pay more for their tickets than holidaymakers. Would not be much use on its own, but will indicate incongruities.

You just gotta love those evil, corrupt bastards that run the U.S. Government!

But they're your friends. Don't you trust them? You must be a terrorist then.

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338859)

the passenger's history of not showing up for flights

Weird one this.


It could be indicative of dry runs. If someone booked a LHR-JFK flight and then didn't turn up, then books another LHR-JFK flight for a week later on the exact same plane, alarm bells should be ringing.

I bet they're only interested in the meal requests. But the terrorists know this. Best bet for terrorists is to opt for the vegetarian option. Unlikely to offend any dietry requirements and common enough in the western world that it would be fairly ineffective.

Better.. you'd make no special requests and just not eat the food. That isn't knowledge that could be passed to authorities until you're in the air.

Rest assured that they're collecting something a little different to these 34 publicized pieces of information. I'm certain I've read articles where the US authorities have stated that they actually lie about what they do and don't do in order to "protect your security". There's no way these 34 items are the whole story. A serious terrorist would know this and plan operations in a style that fits a reasonably standard profile.

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340287)

A serious terrorist would know this and plan operations in a style that fits a reasonably standard profile.

True. I remember reading about a list of items that have been used for profiling drug smugglers. Since the smugglers knew about these signs and responded to them, items included disembarking first, last and in the middle, as well as travelling alone and in a group. Wish I could remember where I read about it.

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339109)

<blockquote><i>the passenger's history of not showing up for flights</i>

Why do they want to know that?</blockquote>

i'd guess so that if you don't always show up they can TRY to overbook the flight and get away with it, or give your seat away to standby passengers before boarding has started just to piss you off.

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339371)

You just gotta love those evil, corrupt bastards that run the U.S. Government!

Now that is a mental image I didn't need !

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340169)

While I think this entire policy is unnecessary, one interesting thing that I recall from the previous article was that if your food preference could indicate religion it would not be revealed. For instance a request for hillal food would not be disclosed, but a request for vegetarian would be.

So basically what are looking for is (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337791)

A person who has a long history of checking in his baggage, but then not boarding on flights that later mysteriously blew up?

Brilliant!

Re:So basically what are looking for is (2, Informative)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338157)

It's rather pointless anyway. Don't you have to say if you're a terrorist (and an ex-nazi, and if you came to attack the US government) on those little forms you get before landing in the US ? Seems much simpler to get it straight from the horse's mouth than trying to extrapolate from seating preferences. :)

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

ChilyWily (162187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338745)

email address? Why an email address? (rhetorical question of course)

I always refuse to give my email (airlines sooner or later use it for spam) and if I have to, I always give: diespamdie@127.0.0.1. Does this mean I'm screwed?

Re:34 data fields (missing from article) (1)

Brobock (226116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339161)

34 fields and not one asks for criminal convictions in their home country. In this globalized era, I am surprised that America doesn't demand this data (not that I want them to). I have personally been in trouble in my late teenage days and worry I will be denied entering other countries because of something I have done long ago and irrelavent to who I am today, but we do live in a world of collateral consequence [wikipedia.org] these days.

I for one don't ever want countries to share this data unless it is serious enough to mandate it be logged by Interpol such as Murderer on the run.

Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (3, Interesting)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337349)

Once the data leaves the hands of the EU, it is beyond the control of the EU. DHS can (and will, I'm sure) give it to anyone they want to. I have little reason to believe that won't include corporations that are willing to pay off the right people.

So, really, how is this any better than what the U.S. was demanding to begin with, other than the fact that the EU gets to decide ahead of time whose data gets sent to the U.S.? For ordinary people, it seems to me that this is no different. Only people with "special" standing within the EU (i.e., those who have special connections to the people who decide what data goes out) will be protected.

The actions of all governments with respect to the rights, liberties, and protections of the people have become so predictable that it's depressing. :-(

Re:Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337453)

The actions of all governments with respect to the rights, liberties, and protections of the people have become so predictable that it's depressing. :-(

Is it really surprising that you cannot travel anywhere you want without a passport/visa, etc? The passenger data they are getting is the same thing you would give to the airline when you book the flight.

Re:Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (1)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337909)

But I didn't book my flight with the US government, so I don't really see why they need to know what my in-flight meal preference is.

European governments (excluding the UK, which is superglued to the US's hindquarters) have no particlular objection to data collection, it's the processing and transmission that usually causes the problems. The US would like, for example, the EU passenger data to be transmitted to agencies that strictly have nothing to do with passport control such as the FBI. Given that nowhere in Europe is nearer than five hours from the US, and the US gets manifests of all passengers before take-off to run off against the DHS big database of bad guys anyway, you could view the extra requirements as being invasive. In reverse: how many US tourist would be happy to know that their complete itinerary had been passed to the DST (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direction_de_la_surv eillance_du_territoire)?

Re:Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337501)

It's now going to US DHS, who are going to "facilitate" passing the data on to other security agencies, apparently. I'm sure we can all work out where this one is going to end.

And yes, it does quite flagrantly violate the spirit of EU data protection laws, even if they've found a technicality to work around the letter. The correct response was to deny the US any information that isn't clearly necessary to allow them to take reasonable security precautions, and if the US threatened to deny landing rights, to call their bluff, loudly and publicly.

Re:Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337877)

While privacy is certainly a good thing, most likely the CIA and the NSA (and the spy agencies of other governments) already have a whole dossier of information on you, and no doubt that information ends up in the hands of corporations.

Your own government collects tax information, occupational information, health care information, education information. This information is not kept secure the same way defense and security information is kept secure by your government, because it would be cost ineffective to do so and at the same time make the info available to provide services and charge taxes. No doubt, any government with a basic spy apperatus infiltrates and collects the information your government keeps on you.

This agreement simply gives the TSA and the people who are responsible for U.S. airline security the information... if you don't want the TSA to have your information, then it might be a concern. But if you are worried about corporations being able to get your personal information, well your own government is already doing the job of collecting your personal information to give to corporations.

If you truly were worried about privacy, you would not trust your own government to keep vast stores of information about you (which will eventually end up in the hands of politically connected corporations via government spy agencies). Flying to the U.S. is really the least of your concerns.

Re:Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337891)

I find this a little odd. The Data Protection Acts in Europe essential follow the same kind of general pattern, i.e if you want to store information in a computer database then you have to register what information you are storing and why you are storing it, and you have to comply with certain conditions such as you will tell someone what information you hold about them if they ask and that you will correct any mistakes in that information.

Now these rules apply to anyone who wishes to maintain databases on individuals within the jurisdiction of the act. So why can DHS set up a little office in the airport to which the airline gives the information - bit like where US immigration operates in Europe to pre-clear passengers.

Then they do their little analysis and come up with a guess at who's the likely lads with the bombs or whatever. Then their not sharing information about the individuals, just a list of names. They print them out and fax them off to head office in Washington or whereever.

Don't see the problem...

Re:Does this violate the EU's data protection law? (1)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339239)

That isn't the way the US government wants to operate. They want to be able to share all of the information with any government agency that might have some interest.

The only reason it is even semi-legal is that the EU commissioner wrote a statement saying that he fully trusts the US government to comply with the data protection act, and there are no adverse privacy implications. This was written despite the US government refusing to comply with the conditions. Basically, the EU is saying "don't tell me what your doing with the data, and we won't ask questions". Sigh.

Frankly (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337419)

We should just tell the US to go fuck themselves over the data and not travel there. If anything US airline security has been shown to be so poor we should be the one imposing the ridiculous restrictions on them coming here.

Re:Frankly (2, Interesting)

dmatos (232892) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337667)

Troll? Maybe. Insightful? I think so.

I'm personally boycotting any travel to the US for this and a myriad of other reasons. Apart from all the risks to my own personal liberty and freedom if I do happen to go there, there's the added fact that it's faster to fly to Europe than to the US (from Canada).

When you add the four hours spent getting through security to the four hour flight, that pretty much equals the 1h security + 7h flight to Europe. And, you get to spend more of that time sitting down, rather than standing in line on a hard concrete floor.

Re:Frankly (3, Informative)

ev0l (87708) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338403)

I don't know where you live but I live in Toronto and fly to the states five or six times a year.

In the Toronto Airport (YYZ) it usualy takes under thirty minutes to clear through both US customs (yes you clear through US customs while still in Canada) and security. A direct flight to Florida takes about 2 and a half hours.

To be safe I usualy show up 90 minutes before my flight departs and usualy have about an hour wait when I get to the terminal.

I don't know where you fly out of by 4 hours is absurd and I am not sure you have ever actually experienced that sort of delay or were embellishing to make a point.

In fact the YYZ web site [gtaa.com] states that you should show up 2 hours early for flights with both international and US destination.

So that puts you at at most 5 hours to fly from Toronto to Florida or 9 hours or more to fly to Europe.

Re:Frankly (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338443)

Really? I'm confused, the last two trips to California for me, I checked in at Pearson less than an hour before departure. I don't recommend checking in so soon before any flight, be it within Canada, to Europe or the US. It takes just as long for me to check-in for the US as it does for Europe - pre-clearing US immigration and customs has been very quick for me in four trips.

I now have a Canadian passport, but last year I travelled to the US on my British one, the first time I'd tried in five years after being falsely accused of working illegally in the US (and Canada!!??!) and refused entry (I chose to spend my money elsewhere for a while, yah fuckers). On that occasion last summer (since it was post the 11th Sept event) they were more concerned about scanning my iris and finger prints. Oh, and telling me that my denial entry was ridiculous and that they didn't believe me that it had happened (except it was on their computer, and still didn't make sense to them!). Maybe they've started hiring more intelligent people. Pretty smooth and quick, to my surprise.

Re:Frankly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16338837)

I live in the US and am boycotting air travel, unless there is an emergency or I need to leave the country. I don't care if I have to drive a day to visit family at this point, fuck the airlines and fuck the authoritarians at TSA and DHS.

Re:Frankly (3, Informative)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339333)

I would probably agree with you about boycotting travelling to the US if I lived outside the US.

But regarding your point about risks to your personal liberty and freedom if you come here; I have to point out that the EU is the one that collects this data on it's citzens in the first place.

Isn't the EU also infringing on on their personal liberty and freedom?

What about Canada? They have to do the same thing. Here's Air Canada's policy. Isn't your government infriging on your personal liberty and freedom as well?

http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/APIS/apis.h tml [aircanada.com]

Air Canada (like all other airlines) is required to adhere to the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), which requires the collection of specific information from every passenger travelling to Canada, to/from the U.S. and other countries. This information is required for the purposes of ensuring aviation safety and security.

Travellers must supply Advance Passenger Information at time of check-in or they will be unable to travel.

Following is a list of information required:

      1. Full name (last name, first name, middle name if applicable)
      2. Gender
      3. Date of Birth
      4. Nationality
      5. Country of residence
      6. Travel document type (normally passport)
      7. Travel document number (expiry date and country of issue for passport)
      8. Destination address in the U.S. (Not required for U.S. nationals, Legal Permanent Residents, or Alien Residents of the U.S. entering the U.S.)

Re:Frankly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16340021)

Good point. I'ld wish more Europeans would realize the fault here lies not with the Americans asking for that data - it lies with European governments bending over when Bush tells them to. I second what someone posted above - the EU should tell the U.S. to go fuck itself and refuse to hand over any data. In fact, we should tell the U.S. to go fuck itself on general principles until the American public decides to return into the community of civilized nations and runs their insane moron in chief and his fuckwit friends out of office. Who knows, that might inspire the citizens of Europe to get rid of that corrupt abomination known as the EU commission (hey, a man can still dream !).

Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16340025)

One less clueless leftist tourist!

Re:Frankly (1)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337733)

...If anything US airline security has been shown to be so poor we should be the one imposing the ridiculous restrictions on them coming here....
I don't think any country or group has a monopoly on airport and/or airline security. See for example, this wikipedia list of airline hijackings [wikipedia.org], the hijackings seem distributed all over the world. Or consider the number of terrorist acts over the last couple of decades at various airports around the world. These include terrorist events in Germany and Italy. By no means do I think that US airport security is very good, but according to the historical evidence neither is EU airport security.

Re:Frankly (1)

nihaopaul (782885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337751)

i totally agree with you on this one, i guess you're not american either? (wait for the /. trolls to mod us down now)

Re:Frankly (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337861)

I find your comment bizarre. Before I let someone in my house, I ask who it is. This is a basic courtesy dating back to ancient times. This is no different, and there's a very real security threat to many people involved.

Now, if the US refuses to reciprocate, then there's a problem. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, etc.

-Jeff

P.S. Please do not read this as "the us is perfect, us security is perfect, etc". I'm only commenting on the exchange of information.

Re:Frankly (2)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338095)

While I agree that the U.S. should drop all the security requirements it has on planes traveling to the U.S. (it doesn't improve security, and frustrates visiters to the U.S.), I think you must not be very well traveled if you think that U.S. security restrictions are very difficult to deal with, or U.S. security is bad. No-one is going to boycott the U.S. when E.U. citizens are treated far worse in other places. You are simply used to getting your news from U.S.-centric news sources (like Slashdot), and are probably a bit U.S.-obsessed, so you are more aware of U.S. security issues than say those of Burma, or Belarus, or some other non-EU country.

You are also missing the point that if European airlines refuse to fly to the United States, that U.S. airlines still can. It would be a boon to the U.S. airline industry.

Re:Frankly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16338365)

Frankly we should tell the EU commission to go fuck themselves. They don't act in the interest of the people. The EU was a nice idea, but the implementation is a train wreck.

It went something like this (4, Funny)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337483)

US: Hey EU, we need to talk about your Pieces of Information
EU: Oh, is there a problem, I thought I was giving you the right number, 34 is the minimum right?
US: Oh, yes, 34 is the minimum number of pieces of information, if you just want to do the minimum
US: Look at Bulgaria over there, they give 54 pieces of information, don't you want to be like Bulgaria?
EU: Look, if you want 54 pieces of information, just make the minimum 54
US: I just want you to want to do more than the minimum


Sorry, I forget the actual script, that's off the top of my head.

Re:It went something like this (1)

besenslon (918690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338149)

Yeah, good adaptation of "Office space" :)

A side question - do you have any information about Bulgaria providing more info? As far as I know, there are no direct flights, so ...?

So, that's the new definition of "reaching a deal" (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337629)

One saying "bend over" and the other one saying "please harder"?

or "dealing a reach-around" (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338091)

No see, the US said "I'm just gonna take it from you and you're gonna like it," and the EU said, "You can't take it from me if I give it to you, you big stud!" and then wet slapping sounds were heard.

Re:or "dealing a reach-around" (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338323)

Oh great. You are aware that someone will pick this up and make up some cutscenes with EU and US politicians, and post something like this on YouTube, yes?

Think of the children! Although... it would be soooo wrong with children... in other words, twice as likely to appear on YouTube.

What about US citizens? (3, Interesting)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337689)

If the EU gets the same access to US databases im a ok with this. Somehow i suspect the US would never bend over and take it like that. Only the EU is so cowardly bent over for their new puppet lors.

Re:What about US citizens? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338001)

Somehow i suspect the US would never bend over and take it like that
Maybe not, but apparently they have no problem giving a reacharound. If you think for one minute that the US isn't allowing passenger data to go to the EU, then you're a little naive.

The EU's concern was that the US would too freely share such information with non-terrorism-related agencies; the US has no such compunctions, and has no problem forking the information over to the EU.

However, the EU doesn't currently have as much of a centralized intel system, so the info is (from what I've read) distributed to the member states, but without a central database that can be easily scraped.

Re:What about US citizens? (1)

slew (2918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338021)

Perhaps the EU doesn't actually want the US information, because then they'd be required to protect it (and who would want to go through all that trouble)...

Besides, looking at that information would probably be too depressing for them anyhow, credit card numbers for maxed out credit cards, finding out how little US folks pay for flights, that they use AOL email, tolerate the "standard" coach airline meal, and are travelling on a generic 21 country Trafalgar tour. I think after looking at a few hundred thousand of those database entries, most european countries would just cry Uncle... ;^)

Re:What about US citizens? (1, Insightful)

traveller604 (961720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338093)

Since EU is made of good countries we don't have to be paranonoid. We don't need to waste our resources to stuff like this. We don't care. It doesn't concern us. People don't hate us like they hate you because of your goverment and attitudes like the one you represent in your post. EU isn't bending over, it's simply being diplomatic, plus I'm sure USA is paying some kind of a price for this. They just don't tell you that :p

Re:What about US citizens? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338503)

You don't think that information is demanded by the UK? I recently booked a flight to the UK, and the airline's web site asked me if I wanted to give them my passport number then and there rather than at check-in time because I was going to a country that required extra information beforehand. I decided not to because I couldn't make up my mind which passport to use, and there's nothing like confusing people when you're a multi-national ;)

Re:What about US citizens? (1)

straybullets (646076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340639)

If the EU gets the same access to US databases im a ok with this. Somehow i suspect the US would never bend over and take it like that. Only the EU is so cowardly bent over for their new puppet lors.

Well, it's either that or EU citizens won't be allowed to travel to the USA.
It's the same with the Biometric Passports, and I don't think the EU has much of a choice here...

Under the new deal... (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337723)

The U.S. will "twist" the information from the E.U. nipples, instead of "pulling" the information from the E.U. underwear.

Huge difference in privacy rights (2, Interesting)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337899)

Just some background info.
Europe and US has a huge difference in privacy rights. In Europe the individual owns his own data. In the US the entity (read corporation) owns whatever they can collect (And sell).

In Norway, for example, if you are unhappy with your credit rating, you just call them and tell them that they have to erase all data they have on you. (This will of course not result in a good score of course). Companies can not keep any information other than what is needed to complete a customer transaction. They can not sell it. The information belongs to you. A patchwork of laws are added to create "holes" in this "firewall" of privacy. Like credit reporting agencies

In the US, Corporations owns whatever they can get, and can sell it as they like. There is no "Privacy firewall" A patchwork of laws is applied in an attempt to plug the glaring errors in this system.

Why on Earth does the USA need all this info? (2, Insightful)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16338269)

So, the USA thinks the following information will help them determine if I am a terrorist or not:

  • Whether or not I order a vegetarian or Kosher meal
  • My email address
  • The fact that I occupy a window or an aisle seat
  • The fact that I might want to go on a museum tour
  • That I missed a connecting flight in 2002

Funny, but I don't see terrorists these days showing up to the airport to buy a one way ticket in cash, ordering a Halal meal, and pre booking a tour of The White House and The Capitol.

IMHO they are demanding this data because they need to be seen to be doing something, and because the current US government has had a good deal of success with bullying tactics. So tell me: if I paid for my ticket with a credit card issued to an online gambling company, will I be arrested? Will I come under suspicion if one of the other members of the group I am travelling with is on the infamous "No Fly" list? Will the fact that I have dual citizenship and two passports, and that I use either passport depending on destination, raise flags? Let's say my visa was issued on one passport, but somehow the record shows the other one?

This is just an excuse for a massive fishing expedition, and I fully expect the information they get to be misused. The current US government has demonstrated repeatedly that it cannot be trusted, and will do whatever it wants to regardless of international agreements, common sense, or fair play.

It is too bad that the EU knuckled under on this. America can apply American law all it wants in America, but it has to get over this thinking that its laws supercede those of other sovereign nations.

Re:Why on Earth does the USA need all this info? (1)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339659)

This kind of data is invaluable to root out false positives when looking for suspicious / interesting patterns. E.g., you'll probably be less likely to think of someone as a terrorist if they asked for a wheelchair or anything else which would make them stand out in the relatively small crowd of a airline passengers. Other things, like booking shortly before the flight, indicates little planning. Each indicator gives a small nudge in one or the other direction (provided you have good reference data), and helps data mining a lot.

Re:Why on Earth does the USA need all this info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16339761)

Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

You're welcome.

Fly Austrian Airlines (only 10 fields) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16338645)

Fly Austrian Airlines (www.aua.at), it got a special status and they only transmit 10 fields to the US. Apparently the small market share was sufficient to have them slip through the rake. Here is the Austrian press (sorry, it's in German): http://futurezone.orf.at/business/stories/141834/ [futurezone.orf.at]

Have fun.

Maybe America is right??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16339043)

Sorry, I don't have an account - but I am not an anonymous coward either, my name is Aaron, hi!

Lets look at this in a way that does not assume that just because America is getting this data that George Bush is reading it and laughing. Let's say someone is flying into New York from Paris with a one-way ticket bought in cash from a travel agent in Afghanistan, lets look closer at him. His flight history shows he flies into Syria and Lebanon regularly, he is 22 year old male, and he requested an aisle seat near the cockpit. Peronally I am glad they have this info, not so they can arrest him on the spot, but so the Air Marshall can keep a closer eye on him.

But what do I know, I am just a stupid American, I probably deserve to have a plane flown into my office building.

Re:Maybe America is right??? (2, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16340561)

Well, hi there, Aaron.

Don't you think that with this as public knowledge, people with bad intentions will make sure they order their ticket including return flight from a reputable travel agency (who couldn't care less who they sell their ticket to), using a pristine 'John Smith' passport showing no irregularities whatsoever? It's pretty easy to hijack the identity of any John Smith so the passport and records would be just peachy. No problem traveling with well-known airlines either, and I'm sure they won't tick the 'kosjer' box in the food selection box either. They may be scary backward folks, but they are *not* stupid.

When governments collude (1)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16339577)

When governments collude, you and I lose rights.

Well, I guess that isn't news: whenever governments to anything, you and I lose rights.
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