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EU Wants Air Passenger Data Collected 151

Posted by kdawson
from the you-can-leave-your-hat-on dept.
An anonymous reader sends news of the EU following in the footsteps of the US in that they are contemplating requiring all 27 member states to collect data on airline passengers and to retain it for up to 13 years. No centralized database would be created; instead states would be encouraged to store and to share their own data as needed. All states would have to pass enabling laws before the measure could come into effect. The rules would not apply to flights entirely within the EU. The proposal is part of an anti-terrorism package that also includes tighter laws to control hate speech and bomb-making instructions.
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EU Wants Air Passenger Data Collected

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  • Cut to the chase (Score:4, Insightful)

    by locster (1140121) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:06AM (#21265593)
    [Sarcasm mode on]
    Heck, let's just cut to the chase and have an international law that everything and anything has to be logged and stored for all eternity. That should save a few decades of protesting against dumb legislature that will eventually get in through the back door anyway.

    Presumably if storage capacity where unlimited we'd be seeing calls to log the position of every atom in the world!
    [Sarcasm mode off]
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:12AM (#21265649) Homepage Journal
    Say what you want about the U.S., but we don't outlaw 'hate speech' here. We have outlawed bomb-making instructions since 1997 (Thanks, Diane Feinstein!), but only those with that give instructions for the purposes of violating federal law. You can still read about the basic chemistry, and for that you just need to go to your local library or read any of a number of articles publicly available on the Internet.

  • by segedunum (883035) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:13AM (#21265651)
    How exactly does one define 'hate speech', and separate it from freedom of speech (one man's free speech is another's hate speech), and how exactly does one separate home chemistry sets from bomb making equipment, and mere discussions on bombs and explosives (they're not exactly secrets) from people who are actually going to use them?

    I'm also not sure how collecting data on all passengers will help them with the small minority they want to track.
  • Re:Damnit! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cavac (640390) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:16AM (#21265669) Homepage
    I don't mean to sound rude, but i've given up traverling to the US, i don't like to be viewed as a "stupid foreigner" by the authorities.

    Last time i was in NY (pre 2001, though), it was "US citizens and greencard holders first, europeans last". Maybe we should have something similar at EU airports, to make us EU citizens feel smug and let US citizens stand around for long hours for a change...

    All in the name of "security", 'couse, naturally, non-EU-citizens will have to fill in pointless imigration forms, answer stupid questions like "Are you a terrorist" to armed security guards while everybody is watching and generally made of fool of yourself. After all, the EU has to bring up its security standard to US levels...
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:16AM (#21265671)
    I seriously think the Soviets covertly won the Cold War after the end was declared every time I hear crap like this. What's next? Are we all going to celebrate the October Revolution and call each other "Comrade" while the Secret Police read our mail and make people disappear?
  • Re:Damnit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#21265675) Homepage
    What exactly makes you think we're not heading the same way? EU has stood for a tightened control of its citizens. Not too long ago, they forced telecom operators to store data in order to fight terrorism and such.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#21265693)
    I know it's Europe where the ideas of freedom of speech are a little different than on this side of the pond, but still every time I hear or read hate speech I shudder. Who gets to define what "hate speech" is?
  • by Fenice (1156725) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#21265695)
    Terrorism is really begining to be an excuse for everything... What frighten me is to see that in France, the president talks about terrorism like an imminent threat against our country that nearly requiere martial law, while our last terrorism attemps go back 10 years ago and we have been livin peacefully since.
  • by bhima (46039) <Bhima DOT Pandava AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:32AM (#21265787) Journal
    I have lived in both Europe and in the US for years. I think that the American's idea of "freedom of speech" is dysfunctional. Most people have no idea what constitutes protected or unprotected speech. They think they can say just whatever the hell they want, whenever they want, in whatever forum they want (and in the case of political speech with as many dollars as they want). In reality speech in the US isn't like that, rather it is as legislated as it is Europe, albeit with different nuances.
    In answer to your question: They have laws made by parliaments in Europe which define protected or forbidden speech. Just like in America they have laws made by Congress which define protected or forbidden speech. It's just that in response to horrors of WWII, several European countries have enacted 'Don't make the same mistake twice' laws. Which forbid denial of the events or glorification of perpetrators in public events.

    I think you will find that the US has civil laws which can be used just as effectively end hate speech.
  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:39AM (#21265833)
    <cynical bastard>
    Didn't you get the memo? It's not about laws making sense, or actually helping prevent terrorism. For a lot of these politicians and bureaucrats it's all about *looking* like you're doing something so you can get reelected and/or be perceived as somebody who's "doing something about it." Bonus points if you can work something in there that empowers the bureaucracy a little bit, extra bonus if you can limit any kind of pesky individualism or unmonitored behavior.
    </cynical bastard>
  • by dk90406 (797452) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:52AM (#21266037)
    all these measures make no sense security wise what so ever. They are only designed to make the average EU citizen feel safer.
    This is just another of the knee jerk reactions that we have seen during the last 6 years. Politicians make a show of "competence" in order to protect the safety of the people. Classic "cover your ass" reaction.

    And you are right. The amount of people killed by terror in EU is minimal compared to traffic accidents, workplace accidents, domestic violence, pollution related deaths etc. But we are used to the above, but *terror* is new and unpredictable, hence it *seems* more scary.

    Sadly, the governments (and mainstream media) are helping the terrorists, by fueling the fear for terror, by constantly talking about it and making senseless measures against it.

    ----

    An annoyed European

  • Re:hmm. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:06AM (#21266207)
    Yes indeed it begins. One small step at a time. Basic rights eaten away in the name of "security". The public thinks "its only a minor inconvenience" or "it makes me safer" each time losing a little freedom, handing the government more power. While we drive around in flashy cars, watch big screen HDTV with surround sound and our Mb/s rated internet connections obtaining free entertainment off bittorrent.

    Bread and circuses people.
  • by PjotrP (593817) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:51PM (#21268629)
    the point is that having a law one way or another, doesn't necessarily mean that the actual practice and reality is so.
    I'm no expert about how free speech works in practice in the US, but I refer to an index of the freedom of press. As I'm no expert I can't judge the index, but the way the index is compiled seems fair enough.

    about the US they said:
    "There were slightly fewer press freedom violations in the United States [than last year] (48th) and blogger Josh Wolf was freed after 224 days in prison. But the detention of Al-Jazeera's Sudanese cameraman, Sami Al-Haj, since 13 June 2002 at the military base of Guantanamo and the murder of Chauncey Bailey in Oakland in August mean the United States is still unable to join the lead group."

    anyway, just screaming "Our laws are better!" just doesn't say much about the actual state of freedom of speech in a country. I bet there are dictatorships that have even nicer looking laws about freedom of speech.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @03:48PM (#21271417)
    Why should the EU copy US procedures. I've always thought that most EU countries had tighter security surrounding air travel. Even after 9/11. I've been through airports in quite a few EU countries. Their security at entry points all appear to be trained (and armed) law enforcement personnel. In the US, it still appears to be minimum wage folks running the scanners. On the other hand, the US places its 'first string' people at customs. Sort of a stupid move if you want to catch someone blowing up an airplane (its too late) but not so stupid if your real motivation is to enforce economic restrictions and collect duties.

    This proposal seems odd for the same reasons. If you want to blow up an airplane, you find people with clean records and get them on board. Once the plane goes down, 13 years of archived records won't do you a bit of good. On the other hand, if you are trying to conduct espionage for other political or economic reasons, then this kind of data makes sense.

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