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Date: 2004-01-15

PNR: EU-Kommissar Bolkesteins Doubletalk

Auweh, Herr Bolkestein, was sind denn das schon wieder für Neuigkeiten? Sie haben auch noch zugestimmt, dass EU-Passagierdaten zu Testzwecken im US-Datenmoloch CAPPS 2 verarbeitet werden. Praktisch zeitgleich haben Sie dem EU-Parlament erklärt, dass die PNR-Daten eben nicht in CAPPS 2 landen würden und das auch noch als großen Verhandlungserfolg verkauft. Na prima, Herr Bolkestein, sind Sie noch zu retten?
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Commission Spokesman Jonathan Todd has admitted that Commissioner Frits
Bolkestein has concealed important details on the draft agreement
reached with the USA on the transfer of Passenger Name Record Data (PNR)
to the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection when reporting to
two Committees of the European Parliament four weeks ago.

At that time, Commissioner Bolkestein claimed that the use of EU
citizen's personal data in the CAPPS-II system was explicitly exempt
from the agreement a negotiation group he headed had reached with U.S.
authorities. According to Commissioner Bolkestein , this exclusion was
prerequisite to the Commission's agreement to the transfer of PNR data
to the U.S.: "The arrangement will not cover the US Computer Assisted
Passenger Pre-Screening System (CAPPS II)." And: "In concluding my last
round of discussions with Mr Ridge, I informed him that in the light of
the narrower uses for PNR, the exclusion for now of CAPPS II and all the
other improvements they had made, I was prepared to propose that the
Commission make a finding of adequate protection with regard to
transfers of PNR to the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection."

"We have", Mr. Todd now said in an interview with German public
television station /WDR/, "agreed that the TSA may use data for testing
purposes. But that includes an obligation not to use the data
operationally, to delete them after the test phase and not to pass them
on to third parties." It is entirely unclear, however, how the
Commission wants to make sure that the deletion will happen and the data
is indeed merely used for testing purposes.

Last week already, EDRi revealed that the U.S. side saw the agreement as
covering the use of EU citizen's data "to test - and only to test -
CAPPS II". On the same occasion, an official of the U.S Department of
Homeland Security pointed out: "We also stated publicly that we will
immediately begin follow-on discussions with the EU in order to
establish a framework for the transfer of PNR data for use by CAPPS II
operations once the system has been fully developed and deployed." Mr.
Todd now admitted this statement correctly reflected the concessions
made by Commissioner Bolkestein to the U.S. side: We are already in
talks with the Americans concerning which security measures must be met
if PNR data is to be used in CAPPS-II. We hope to find an agreement as
soon as possible once the U.S. Congress has approved CAPPS-II."

Andreas Dietl, EU Affairs Director of European Digital Rights, declares:
/It is a shame that Commissioner Bolkestein has tried to mislead the
European Parliament on the nature of the draft agreement dealt out with
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
It is now clear that the Commission has agreed to the abuse of EU
citizen's personal data to test a surveillance system that in its very
nature is against the principles of EU data protection legislation. The
claim by the U.S. that the data used for testing purposes will be
deleted thereafter is merely a joke: The data will still be available in
the Computerized Reservation System (CRS), where it can be accessed by
government agencies at any time.
It is also clear that the Commissioner has given to understand to the
American side that personal data of EU citizens may soon even be fed
into this CAPPS-II system when it will be operational, even though the
U.S. openly plan to interlink CAPPS-II with the even broader US-VISIT
surveillance system, the main purpose of which is to provide U.S. secret
services with as much data on anyone visiting the USA as possible.
According to internal papers recently revealed, personal data will be
stockpiled in this system for 100 years.
In not mentioning this side agreement, Commissioner Bolkestein has come
close to lying to the Parliament. If the Commission does not stop the
transfer of personal data from the EU now, it is time to take them to
the European Court of Justice for breach of Article 25 of the EU Data
Protection Directive 95/46/EC.


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edited by Harkank
published on: 2004-01-15
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