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EU Court rejects passenger data deal with Canada as it violates EU law

The EU Court of Justice ruled this morning that the agreement on the transfer of passenger data (PNR) between the EU and Canada is incompatible with EU law. The last version of the EU-Canada agreement was completed in 2014, but at the initiative of the European Parliament’s rapporteur Sophie  In ‘t Veld, MEP’s decided the ECJ should review the agreement.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, ALDE Group first vice-president, commented today:

“Two and a half years after the European Parliament raised serious concerns, the Court has made it crystal clear that the EU Canada agreement cannot be adopted in its current form. The agreement provides insufficient protection and safeguards for Europeans. The use of personal data is not rejected as such, but sensitive data relating to, for example, religious beliefs, cannot be collected without suspicion. Additionally, the data cannot be accessed without judicial authorisation and has to be deleted after the passenger has left Canadian territory.”

„The European Commission and national governments have stubbornly continued to hold on to a flawed agreement, which is deeply regrettable. The European Commission must now go back to the negotiating table.”

„Today´s ruling may have far-reaching consequences. The EU PNR Directive and similar arrangements with the United States on PNR and bank data sharing (SWIFT) could face challenges. Liberals and Democrats have long criticized legislation that allows for authorities to sift through bulk information without due cause and judicial authorisation. Today’s ruling shows that anti-terror laws are all too often made in haste, but are then unable to pass judicial review. Privacy rules and fighting terrorism do not have contradict one another, but laws must be made with due observance of European standards and values.”

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