US 'Blackmails' EU Into Agreeing To Hand Over Passenger Data

from the you-have-no-more-fundamental-rights dept

A couple months ago, we wrote about a debate in the EU Parliament, concerning an agreement over how much data should be shared with the US on passengers flying from the EU into the US. The person in charge of analyzing the agreement, Sophie in't Veld, urged the Parliament to reject the agreement, saying that it violated EU citizens' fundamental rights. Specifically, the US wanted access to more data with fewer restrictions than the EU felt was fair. However, it appears that after the US pulled out its big gun over this -- threatening to stop allowing EU citizens to visit the US without first obtaining a visa -- the Parliament caved and agreed to the deal. The one big concession from the US, however, was that EU passengers will be able to see their records and correct errors. Sophie in't Veld is still not happy -- and for good reason:
"This Agreement is contrary to European Treaties and privacy laws and does not meet the minimum criteria set by Parliament itself. Diplomatic relations with the United States appear to be more important than the fundamental rights of our own EU citizens."
In a statement sent to Techdirt, she also noted that, in caving, the EU Parliament "loses its credibility and EU citizens draw the short straw." Part of the problem is just how unequal the setup is, with the US getting tons of power over EU citizens. And, of course, the fact that the EU caved to the US sets a bad precedent. "The Trans-Atlantic relations need to become more balanced. EU should take a less timid stance towards the US." In the end, she notes that what happened was "almost to the extent of blackmail."

Filed Under: data sharing, european union, rights, visa

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    The EU could do it if they want. However, the EU considered it's options, and realizes that forcing Americans to get a Visa to enter Europe was self-defeating.

    Remember, what the US is asking for isn't making the EU travelers have to do much more than they did before. In fact, it's making the EU agents and airlines do what they always should have had to do to start with, which is KNOW THEIR CUSTOMER. They need to know who they are dealing with.

    The EU needs to realize that the US is right on this issue, and that if they want to have their citizens travel to the US, that they have to deal with it.

    Here's an example of "the rules" when you get to the extreme end. If you want to travel to China, you need a visa. In order to get that Visa, you have to do something that is totally disagreeable to most people: You have to hand over your passport to them for a week or more. That's means you legal ID in someone else's hands. It's the only way to get the visa. Your choice is do it and travel there, or don't do it and don't travel there. We always have choices. Any time you think the US is being too demanding, just remember what demanding really is.

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