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US Security Official Urges Europe to Share Airline Passenger Info - 2003-09-07


A top U.S. official has urged European leaders to cooperate with the United States in the war on terrorism by sharing information on airline passengers.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in Italy on Saturday that the EU's current policy prohibiting the sharing of passenger information must be balanced by the right of those same passengers to travel safely.

A new U.S. law went into effect in March that requires airlines to submit passenger data - name, address and birthdate - within 15 minutes after an aircraft departs for the United States.

Last month, the European Commission, noting the information request violated EU privacy laws, said Washington had failed to prove passenger data would be safe from abuse.

Mr. Ridge said it was important to develop an acceptable procedure to ensure both privacy and a greater level of air security.

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