EU and US agree air passenger data deal

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The Independent Online

Europe has agreed to demands to give American law enforcement agencies easier access to US-bound air passengers' personal data, ending legal uncertainty for airlines but prompting criticism from defenders of civil rights.

After nine hours of overnight negotiation, the European justice and home affairs commissioner, Franco Frattini, said the deal would make it easier for US agencies to obtain 34 categories of information without giving them automatic electronic access. Mr Frattini said: "We are not talking about more data or more exchanges, we are talking about making it easier to transmit data."

Yesterday's agreement rescued airlines from legal limbo after the European Court of Justice struck down an earlier agreement on a technicality, following a challenge from the European Parliament.

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