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The European Parliament last week again called
for the European Commission to "explore less intrusive alternatives"
to the comprehensive collection of airline passenger data by countries outside
the European Union.
The United States is one of a handful of
countries that gathers passenger name records and other personal details of all passengers who cross its borders. The European Union and the United States
recently have started discussions on a general data protection agreement and a
new version of their more specific agreement on sharing passenger flight data.
Parliament has the right to veto both accords, according to its statement
issued last Thursday.
The resolution passed by the European Parliament
asked the Commission to provide "factual evidence that the collection,
storage and processing of PNR data is necessary," and emphasized that
"PNR data shall in no circumstances be used for data mining or
Last month, the European Data Commissioner expressed "major concerns as regards the necessity and legitimacy"
of PNR collection schemes by national governments.
A separate position adopted by the Parliament
took another swipe at the U.S. Travel Promotion Act, which led to the imposition
from Sept. 8 of a $14 application fee on U.S.-bound visitors for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which they must obtain to enter when using a
visa waiver. European officials have complained that the fee is tantamount to a
visa charge, but the latest communiqué from the Parliament also voiced concerns
about matters related to data privacy. It said the fee "can only be paid
with one of the four major credit cards, whose companies are all based inside