Monday, May 14, 2007

ASKED TO NAME NAMES: U.S. Asks Europe to Ensure Continued Access to Air Passenger Data - New York Times 

U.S. Asks Europe to Ensure Continued Access to Air Passenger Data - New York Times

The United States is making demands of Europe to give up airline passenger data.

On the fringes of a meeting of European interior ministers here Saturday, Mr. Chertoff argued that other countries, no matter how friendly, could not decide who entered the United States. He plans to repeat the message before a European Parliament panel in Brussels on Monday.

“While we reassure Europe, we have to insist that we can’t tie our hands in keeping dangerous people out of the United States,” Mr. Chertoff said in an interview here.

Under an interim accord between Washington and the European Union, data that overseas passengers routinely give airlines — address, credit card, passport, phone and other information — is being used for screening on arrival at American airports.

But the accord expires July 31, and some European governments and data protection advocates have strenuously objected to what they call an invasion of privacy and possible misuse of personal information.

At the heart of the discussions between Mr. Chertoff and the Europeans is the issue of how Washington can screen passengers who, as citizens of 15 European Union countries, do not need to apply for a visa for stays of up to 90 days. The nations include Britain, France, Germany and Italy but not the most recent entrants to the European Union, like Poland, Hungary and Romania.

Will Europe relent and consent to giving up the names? Should they? The United States does have concerns about "visa loopholes"


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