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Topic: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: DoorsToManual
Posted 2003-09-23 20:10:32 and read 2657 times.

I read the article on Jetblue's breach of its privacy rules with interest, although I wasn't surprised and still suspect it wasn't the first or last airline to have made such a breach (although maybe it was the first to be caught out in public...) - perhaps there are subtle differences in the 'type' of information handed over, but in my mind the US govt will eventually get what it wants, one way or the other: details of pax travelling on airlines within/into the USA.

Here is an article on the way in which the US Dept of Homeland Security hopes to have access to the details of travellers inbound from Europe. I think we should drop any notions that our details are somehow "private" quite soon. And BTW, to avert any stupid flamewar, the erosion of privacy is occuring in Europe too, so let the hypocrites be silenced....

From AMPLE.com:

AFX-Focus) 2003-09-23 15:29 GMT: European airlines urges EU, US to accept Austrian compromise on data privacy
BRUSSELS (AFX) - The Association of European Airlines (AEA) called on the EU Commission and the US authorities to resolve their ongoing dispute regarding data protection issues, and urged acceptance of a compromise solution put forward by the Austrian Data Protection Agency.
As part of its anti-terrorism security, the US Department of Homeland Security requires airlines to provide access to their computer reservations data. This has led to a dispute between the EU Commission and the US authorities over data privacy issues.

While the basic data contained in the Passenger Name Record (PNR) is essentially neutral, the PNR may also contain more personal details, the AEA said.

The AEA said it wrote to Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein on Sept 18, calling for "serious consideration" to be given to a proposal developed by the Austrian Data Protection Agency.

Under this proposal, the data provided by airlines would be stored under EU government control, where it can be filtered by the EU government authorities according to bilateral or international agreements.

Controlled access would then be permitted to the foreign government authorities, it said.

The AEA said it hoped the concept could facilitate the end of the dispute and could be implemented within a short period of around six months.


Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Airbazar
Posted 2003-09-23 20:36:36 and read 2643 times.

The erosion of privacy has come and gone in Europe. It's not as big an issue as it is in the US mainly because Europeans have far less distrust towards their governments than Americans, and rightly so. You have video cameras in busy city squares and traffic lights, and countries with national id cards, and it seems you can't do anything without giving all your most detailed information to the government.

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Richierich
Posted 2003-09-23 20:41:21 and read 2635 times.

I highly doubt JetBlue is the only airline involved.
The problem people seem to have is that JetBlue actually has a privacy policy which some feel was violated by this disclosure.
As I have said in a previous thread: no harm no foul. JetBlue is fine.

The truth is the US government is flexing its muscles in seeing what is acceptable by the public. Nobody likes the term "profiling", when it comes to passengers, but "screening" is OK. In an effort to make flying even safer and not allow a return of 9/11, I cautiously applaud non-evasive programs like this. I DO believe that they have to be VERY careful who is targeted as high risk, but I'd prefer this to full cavity searches.  Smile

To each your own, I guess.

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Bobrayner
Posted 2003-09-23 22:22:11 and read 2601 times.

The erosion of privacy has come and gone in Europe. It's not as big an issue as it is in the US mainly because Europeans have far less distrust towards their governments than Americans, and rightly so. You have video cameras in busy city squares and traffic lights, and countries with national id cards, and it seems you can't do anything without giving all your most detailed information to the government.

On the other hand, EU data protection legislation is generally stricter than in the USA.

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Sk945
Posted 2003-09-23 23:08:09 and read 2598 times.

I know that SAS have tried to delay the intro to send pax info to the US, becuase, it breaks the laws in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
Finnair have start to send the info - but it must be mentioned on the tickets and also by everyone selling Finnair tickets to US to customers before they deside to book. So, no, the integrity laws aint stricter i US.

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: ILoveORD
Posted 2003-09-23 23:41:46 and read 2570 times.

"On the other hand, EU data protection legislation is generally stricter than in the USA." -Bobrayner

"I know that SAS have tried to delay the intro to send pax info to the US, becuase, it breaks the laws in Sweden, Denmark and Norway."-Sk945

Interesting points, HOWEVER, according to L.Wildhaber and S.Breitenmoser's legal textbook, "The Relationship Between Customary International Law and Municipal Law in Western European Countries," this no excuse for NOT implementing pax info sharing rules as this clearly an international concern. As this will likely become, if it is not already, a matter of CUSTOMARY law, the Scandinavian countries cannot claim exemption to the privacy rules on the fact that it violates their domestic/municipal law. A passage that refers to such international legal matters, according to Wildhaber/Breitenmoser's findings (ZaoRV 48, 1988, 163-207, 204), reads as follows:

"both the written and nonwritten constitutional law of Western European countries recognize conventional and customary international law as 'part of the law of the land', and that the practice of states without an explicit provision concerning the relationship between international law and municipal law is no different from the practice in states with such a clause in their constitutions". (Wildhaber/Breitenmoser, ZaoRV 48 (1988), 163-207, 204).


Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Rickb
Posted 2003-09-23 23:57:46 and read 2553 times.

ILoveORD,

Is the US requirement for passenger information on flights to the US an international law or a US based one ?

If its a US based law then technically there is no legal requirement for overseas airlines to adopt it (other than they presumably would be denied landing rights in the US)?

Either way - I dont have a problem with it - if I was visiting another country (or someone visiting my own country) then I would hope to have as much information as possible about that person before they arrive.

RickB

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: ILoveORD
Posted 2003-09-24 00:17:56 and read 2535 times.

Rickb,

Here's the thing, the "law" you refer to is not actually a "real" law, per se--at least not yet. Like I said, right now, until the U.S. passes legislation making it a law, it's a customary international law, not a statutory one--hence, it is not directly enforcible or punishible for violations. It is, essentially, a matter of custom. But, like Michael Akenhurst writes in his book, "Introduction to Modern International Law", European governments give priority, believe it or not, to customary international law rather than their own domestic laws in cases of conflict, such as this one, because of the "friendliness to international law" (Akenhurst, Routledge Pub., 2002, 7th Ed., 70). However, if and when the U.S. does require foreign airlines to provide passenger info. and foreign airlines/governments refuse, the U.S. will likely maintain, as you say, the right to deny them landing rights. It will be interesting to see how this development pans out...

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Rickb
Posted 2003-09-24 00:38:17 and read 2524 times.

ILoveORD,

Thanks for the clarification !!

Personally I dont understand the issue here (other than obvious cost implications to airlines flying to the US - but since it would apply to all airlines - it will be the passengers rather than the airlines who will end up carrying the costs). You have to hand over the same details (and more) whilst passing through US immigration - if the US immigration service could offer a benefit - say less time spent in immigration as the queues can be pretty horrific at times since they already have most of the information required - then I can't see why anyone would object. Even as it is - if you want to visit a foreign country you have to play by the rules.

Look at it this way - for UK travellers going to Australia - we still have to apply in advance for a visa and provide proof that we have sufficient funds to cover our stay in Oz - thats far more invasive than anything US immigration requires - no financial information is required other than ticking the box to say you have less than $10K with you.

RickB

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Teva
Posted 2003-09-24 18:04:43 and read 2502 times.

The issue here is data that goes far beyond what customs can ask you.
It is not only Name and address. But it also includes a lot more details, such as credit card number and bank details, special emals requests...
About the meal requests, let's extrapolate a little bit. For any reason, I take a veg. meal. Could very easily be interpretated as I do this because I want to make sure I will have no pork, because I am a muslim, then potential terrorist. Then, I have to face questionning, or may even be denied boarding with no explanation given. Just because of a little red flag next to my name. And the agents don't even know the reason of this red flag. I will never know the reason of the problem nor get a chance to clarify.

Another thing is would you like any foreign government to have access to all your bank data?

Teva

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Teva
Posted 2003-09-24 18:11:31 and read 2499 times.

Additional question:
What would be the reaction in the USA if Europe asks the same for all the passengers flying to Europe???

Teva

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Ned Kelly
Posted 2003-09-24 18:37:34 and read 2473 times.

Could someone please clarify a couple of points here as to what exactly the US govt is requesting from the airlines, As stated above:
As part of its anti-terrorism security, the US Department of Homeland Security requires airlines to provide access to their computer reservations data

Are the US govt just requesting advanced access on details of passengers traveling to the U.S? If this is the case then I don't see any problem with this, as most of these questions/information can be asked or requested to be supplied upon entry at US Immigration.

However and this is my main concern, or are the US govt requesting access to airlines databases that will supply them with details of passengers traveling worldwide, for example from Spain to France? If this is the case then as far as I am concerned "IT IS NONE OF THEIR DAMMED BUSINESS".

Ned.

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: ILoveORD
Posted 2003-09-24 19:21:54 and read 2458 times.

Yeah, RickB, I agree with a lot of what you said, especially on the immigration thing. But, I read a NY Times article a few days ago that some US citizens are worried about the policy (think JetBlue) because they fear US airlines could release (willingly or not) personal passenger info. to non-governmental agencies. This is exactly what happened in the JetBlue incident, passenger info was released not only to pentagon officials, but also to a private contractor. In this instance, I can see why some of the flying public would worry that personal info. can be leaked/spread/misused for non-security reasons. I don't know, part of me wonders as well...? As far as international cases of this info-sharing policy are concerned, I think it’s an effort to help insure that potential terrorists don't make into the U.S.--at least not via air transport. Additionally, the U.S. can deny landing rights to any carrier (foreign or domestic) for any reason--they are a privilege, not a right. No airline (or country for that matter) can claim that it has an absolute right to fly into and carry out operations in any other country.

Edit: "are the US govt requesting access to airlines databases that will supply them with details of passengers traveling worldwide, for example from Spain to France? If this is the case then as far as I am concerned "IT IS NONE OF THEIR DAMMED BUSINESS"."

Additionally, Ned Kelly, I highly doubt that such a database as you much will allow the U.S., or ANY country for that matter, access to ANY passenger flying to and from ANY country in the world...do you know how many people travel the world in a single day on how many airlines, it is impossible to track them all. Get real man, stopping coming up with lame hypotheticals just so you can "rag" on the U.S. ....

[Edited 2003-09-24 19:28:28]

Topic: RE: Access To European Pax Data For US Govt
Username: Teva
Posted 2003-09-25 14:59:53 and read 2422 times.

IloveORD, If you fly to the US, they will have access to your travel history with the airline, including Spain to France flights, even if these flts are not part of the current trip to the US.
With your bank/credit card details, they can look at other parts of your life.

When he publish his book, Orwell did only one mistake: the title shoul have been 2003 instead of 1984...

Teva


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