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Parliament Supports Legal Action Over EU-US Data Deal

The majority of political group leaders in the European Parliament have backed the call for legal action against the deal signed recently between the EU and the U.S. over the transfer of airline passenger data.

During a meeting in the European parliament, the Socialists, the Liberals, the Greens and the leftist GUE group were in favor of asking the European Court of Justice to annul the recent international agreement on air passenger data transfers to the United States. The center-right EPP and UEN groups were, however, against the proposal. Under the agreement reached last month, Washington is allowed to collect 34 types of data from passengers’ records flying to the United States, which include names, addresses, phone numbers, credit cards and the identity of their travelling companions. Since March 2003, airlines have faced the possibility of fines of €6,000 ($7,200) per passenger as well as the potential loss of landing rights in the U.S. if they failed to provide U.S. security agencies with the data 15 minutes before the flight's departure. The Commission and member states finalized this agreement last month, ignoring requests by MEPs that they wait until the European Court of Justice gives its opinion on whether the deal contravenes EU data protection rules. (EUobserver.com)

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