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21 February 2003


The Guardian reports that the US had threatened to stop flights from Europe to the US unless US government agencies were provided with passenger details before planes arrive: "The information a passenger submits to airline computers when buying a ticket - the passenger name record (PNR) - will be freely available to customs, immigration and other agencies in the US, where there are no data protection laws. This includes basic details a traveller is obliged to give the airline such as full name, itinerary and contact phone number, but also a wealth of personal information. The deal was struck between the European commission and America and is binding on all British airlines". Reporter Jeevan Vasagar also quoted Simon Davies, director of the independent watchdog Privacy International:"This is a backroom deal. The information once in the hands of the US will leak like a sieve. Anybody who is of a particular ethnic origin could be routinely suspect, anybody who is caught up in an intelligence sweep, or law enforcement data matching exercise, could find themselves subject to US law without any hope of appeal or representation.",3604,899167,00.html

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