EU and US reach air passenger data deal

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The Independent Online

European Union and US negotiators have reached a deal on the sharing of trans-Atlantic air passenger data used in anti-terror investigations, diplomats said in Luxembourg today.

Details of the exact deal were not yet clear after marathon talks which started late yesterday.

The EU diplomats said EU government representatives had not yet been formally notified of the deal.

A 2004 trans-Atlantic air passenger privacy deal - which the EU high court voided last May for technical reasons - lapsed after negotiators missed an October 1 deadline.

Negotiations collapsed last week when EU negotiators - seeking a simple replacement accord - could not agree to US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's request for a more routine sharing of passenger data among US law enforcement agencies.

Reaching a new deal had been an EU priority to ensure airlines can continue to legally submit 34 pieces of data about passengers flying from Europe to US destinations. Such data - including passengers' names, addresses and credit card details - must be transferred to US authorities within 15 minutes of a flight's departure for the United States.

Washington had warned that airlines failing to share passenger data faced fines of up to 6,000 dollars (£3,200) per passenger and the loss of landing rights.

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