26 MAY 2011
British airline passengers flying to the United States face having their personal information, including addresses, phone numbers and credit card details, stored for 15 years under under a proposed agreement between the US and the European Union.
By Nick Allen | The Telegraph
Details of millions of travellers from Europe, including addresses, phone numbers and credit card information, would be kept for the extended period by the US Department of Homeland Security, which also wants airlines to furnish the data up to 96 hours ahead of scheduled flight departures.
Airlines must currently provide passenger name record (PNR) information 72 hours before departure, allowing US Customs to match the data against existing terrorist watch lists and criminal and immigration databases.
The 15-year storage limit for the data was proposed in a draft agreement between the US and the EU. Under the EU’s own PNR system for flights in and out of Europe data is only kept for five years. Britain has already effectively “opted-in” to that system.
Last week the US Senate passed a symbolic resolution rebuking the EU over what it claimed was a reluctance to exchange airline passenger data, a process which has been opposed by civil liberties campaigners..
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman said the US “simply cannot accept” any EU efforts not to share information that is “an important part of our layered defences against terrorism.”
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