EU reaches deal to exchange air passenger data

European Union interior ministers have reached an agreement to share airline passenger data after years of discussions over its use by security forces.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels Friday, Luxembourg Interior Minister Etienne Schneider made the announcement after the meeting of the 28-member council of the EU.

The deal allows for Passenger Name Records (PNR), which include detailed flight information, to be made available to all countries in the EU for six months.  The information is then to be stored for another 4.5 years.

The new rules will govern all flights entering or leaving the EU, as well as flights between European countries.

The dispute over the retention and sharing of PNR had been prolonged as European lawmakers struggled to find a balance between security concerns and personal privacy.

German lawmakers in particular have been wary of mass data collection, recalling historic abuses and revelations about U.S. surveillance.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris in January and November of this year, the French government and others intensified their pressure on the EU parliament to relent.


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