Wednesday, 17 December 2003

European Parliament member says passenger data transfers to the USA still violate EU law

MEP Marco Cappato, one of the members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to which the European Commisison reported yesterday on the status of airline passenger data transfers from the European Union to the USA, today issued a statement making clear:

  1. That the European Commission (EC) proposal does not and cannot constitute an “agreement” between the EU and the USA;
  2. That pending any binding agreement, the ongoing transfers of passenger data to the USA continue to be in violation of EU law; and
  3. That the EC itself remains in breech of EU law for failing to carry out the explicit directive voted by Parliament on 9 October 2003 to bring about compliance with the law by 9 December 2003.

According to MEP Cappato, “The (tentative) agreement is just a proposal; the violation of EU law is currently the reality,” despite misrepresentations of the proposal made by the USA Department of Homeland security in its press release announcing an agreement. Cappato continues:

According to what Commissioners Palacio, Bolkestein, Vitorino and Patten affirmed yesterday in the European Parliament during a joint legal affairs and citizens’rights committees meeting, there is still no definitive agreement with the US on the transfer of passenger data collected in the EU and consequently accessed by U.S. authorities in breach of EU law…

The reality is that the current practice of data transfer is in breach of EU regulation 2299/89 on computerized reservation system (which prohibits the access to personal data by third parties without the consent of the person) and of Directive 95/46 (that foresees that any exception to privacy rules should be based on a specific legislative measure of a Member State). This means that the personal data, before being illegally accessed and transferred, are illegally collected.

It is now up to the EP to continue with the procedure launched on the 9th of October and to immediately take the Commission to the European Court of Justice for failure to act (the deadline expired on December the 9th) and for violation of EU law.

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 17 December 2003, 16:26 ( 4:26 PM)
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