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EU, US Reach Deal Sharing Air Passenger Data


The European Union and the United States have reached a deal to transfer airline passenger data to U.S. counter-terrorism officials.

The interim deal allows U.S. security officials to access data on passengers traveling to the country, as long as certain privacy standards are upheld.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff welcomed the deal, saying it will remove obstacles to the sharing of information. In a statement, he said the agreement promotes joint interests for security and privacy.

EU Justice Minister Franco Frattini also praised the deal, which expires in July 2007. Officials from both sides are expected to negotiate a long-term accord before then.

EU and U.S. officials have been discussing the new deal for weeks, after an EU court rejected an earlier accord.

Under the deal, U.S. officials will have access to more than 30 pieces of information on passengers, including names, addresses, payment details and telephone numbers.

Without an agreement, European airlines could have faced legal action in Europe if they transferred the passenger data. Flights also could have been refused landing rights in the United States for not sharing the data.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.