ECJ Says EU-Canada Deal On Sharing Passenger Data Breaches EU Rights

A deal between the European Union and Canada to share airline passenger information is in breach of fundamental EU rights, the European Court of Justice said on Wednesday.

The breach has made the deal not to be concluded in its current form.

The European Parliament, whose approval is needed for the 2014 agreement to take effect, asked the top EU court for an opinion on the sharing of so-called passenger name record (PNR) data, which is considered important to tackle terrorism.

The information that would be shared under the deal has proven controversial in Europe due to privacy concerns.

The names, addresses, state of health, credit card numbers and complete travel itinerary of plane travelers would be retained for five years by both sides under the agreement.

The Luxembourg-based court said that the deal allowing for retention and subsequent transfer of data among Canadian, European and other foreign authorities was “an interference with the fundamental right to respect for private life and the protection of personal data.’’

The deal should be clarified and revised to make sure that the databases would only be used by Canadian authorities to combat terrorism and that they would be shared with only those non-EU countries that the EU has a data-sharing agreement with.

The court also called for the deal to include the right to individual notification for passengers if their PNR data is used by Canada or disclosed to other authorities and a guarantee that oversight of the rules would be carried out by an independent supervisory body.(dpa/NAN)

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