Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Passenger flight data: European court blocks EU data deal with US

The European Court of Justice has today anulled the European Council's decision regarding an agreement to provide US authorities with the data of European flight passengers, and the European Commission's decision that this agreement complies with with the European Union's data protection requirements. (More information about the details can be found in the ECJ's press release).

Such an outcome had been expected since the court's Advocate General had recommended the anulment in November of 2005 (see my respective posting on this blog).

Now both aforementioned institutions, the Council and the Commission, are left with the proverbial egg on their faces. This is a victory for the European Parliament which had brought the case before the court, arguing that the Commission was violating the European Union's own data protection legislation.

The full text of the ruling will soon be available here. The BBC, the New York Times, and SPIEGEL Online already have reports on this up.

Since the United States have threatened to withdraw landing rights from any airline not complying with the agreement, it will be interesting to watch further developments in this case. However, the ECJ has ruled that the agreement can stay in effect until 30 September 2006. I would expect intense negotiations to start now between the EU and the US…

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