Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Giving airline data to US illegal: EU court

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union acted illegally when it agreed to transfer airline passenger data to the United States as part of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism, the bloc's highest court said on Tuesday.

Under a May 2004 EU-U.S. agreement, European airlines have been obliged to give U.S. authorities 34 items of information on passengers flying to the United States, including name, address, all forms of payment and contact telephone numbers.

The United States insisted the transfer of data was essential to fight terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by suicide plane hijackers.

The European Court of Justice said the agreement lacked an adequate legal basis.

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