EU to redraft US air data deal

European justice ministers meet in Luxembourg Thursday to start work on redrafting an annulled accord that will share air passenger data with the United States.  This comes after the European Court of Justice cancelled a 2004 EU-U.S. agreement which forced European airlines to supply U.S. authorities information on passengers entering the country.

Europe’s top court will allow data to keep flowing until September 30 to give officials time to negotiate a new agreement and make sure that planes flying across the Atlantic this Autumn.

The court is disputing the legal basis of the agreement, yet lawmakers have not said that sharing data with the U.S. will breach privacy rights.

European Union privacy rules only deny the use of such commercial data for crime-fighting purposes.

“There was no verdict on the content, so why should we change it?” an official for the EU’s executive Commission told a news briefing.

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European Commission officials are confident the top court will uphold the actual content of the agreement in any future challenge because of the four-month reprieve.

Keeping the content and changing the legal basis appears to be the main focus of the redraft.
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