The US will now keep European Union passenger name records (PNR) data for fifteen years -- far longer than the the three and a half years it kept it previously, reports Out-Law.com.
The sensitive data kept on passengers can include racial or ethnic origin, political or religious views, and health details of travellers.
And the EU is concerned that Google keeps its server log data for 18 to 24 months before it is anonymised!
PNR data can be used by the Department of Homeland Security "in exceptional circumstances," according to the European Commission letter which sells our passenger data down the river.
The letter goes on to say that EU and US privacy laws are broadly similar, and don't lets worry about a little thing like differences in how the laws are implemented:
"RECOGNISING that U.S. and European privacy law and policy share a common basis and that any differences in the implementation of these principles should not present an obstacle to cooperation between the U.S. and the European Union (EU)," says the letter.
I just have two words to say about how privacy laws are implemented in the US: extraordinary rendition. Privacy laws or indeed, laws concerning human rights, don't really seem to make much of a difference to the US intelligence services. Guantanamo Bay, anyone? Or maybe you can be transported without trial to a country that feels more positive about torturing people...
As well as the US being able to do whatever it likes with our data, the DHS can also share it with other countries outside the EU:
"For the application of this Agreement, DHS is deemed to ensure an adequate level of protection for PNR data transferred from the European Union. Concomitantly, the EU will not interfere with relationships between the United States and third countries for the exchange of passenger information on data protection grounds."
Yes, don't lets worry about exactly who will get to see or use this data.
The best bit is, the DHS will get the European Union to be the enforcer in Europe of the DHS's data collection policy:
"NOTING that the European Union should ensure that air carriers with reservation systems located within the European Union make available PNR data to DHS and comply with the technical requirements for such transfers as detailed by DHS."
This is a great day for democracy, folks.