EU concerned over traveler profiling

EU wants an explicit statement that data they share is being used in accord with October agreement.

The European Commission raised concerns about DHS' screening program that creates risk profiles for every air traveler. Commissioners requested confirmation from the US that data shared is handled in accordance with a pact the EU and US signed in October, The Washington Post reports.

Vice President Franco Frattini told the European Parliament: "I have always taken the position that travelers must be informed when their . . . data may be transferred to competent authorities of third countries." .

Ever since DHS published a notice in the Federal Register, shockwaves have been reverberating about the Automated Targeting System, a computerized screening program in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel make risk assessments on air cargo and passengers entering and leaving the country. International travelers have been profiled for 10 years, Customs officials said.

Sophie in't Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said this month that passengers are not told their travel data are recorded and made accessible to a wide range of agencies. "We cannot accept this excessive appetite for personal data without any kind of protection against mistakes and abuse by public authorities," she said.

After lengthy negotiations, the EU and US renegotiated an agreement on passenger data that allowed the data to be retained for 40 years but set limits on sharing the data between agencies.

Jarrod Agen, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Customs agency, said that Customs is abiding by the October agreement, including a provision that data about passengers arriving from Europe be held for only 3 1/2 years.