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Published:October 7th, 2006 05:32 EST
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Passenger Name Record Agreement with European Union

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Passenger Name Record Agreement with European Union

By SOP newswire

I am pleased to announce the European Union (EU) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have reached a final agreement regarding Passenger Name Record (PNR) data which will allow us to make full use of passenger data as needed to protect our borders.  This agreement provides the information sharing that I called for in August.

Under the agreement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will have new flexibility to share PNR data with other counter-terrorism agencies within the U.S. government, carrying out the President’s mandate to remove obstacles to counter-terrorism information sharing. The new flexibility will apply to agencies within DHS as well as to the Department of Justice, the FBI, and other agencies with counter-terrorism responsibilities; sharing will be allowed for the investigation, analysis, and prevention of terrorism and related crimes. We are pleased that this U.S.-EU agreement promotes our joint goal of combating terrorism while respecting our joint commitment to fundamental rights and freedoms, notably privacy.  

I am also encouraged that the agreement will allow the department to receive PNR data earlier, thus increasing our ability to identify potential terrorists. The department will in time obtain access to PNR outside of the 72 hour mark when there is an indication that early access could assist in responding to a specific threat to flights bound for the United States.

The protection of our borders and ability to verify who we are admitting into the United States is a fundamental mission of DHS. I applaud my counterparts at the European Union for agreeing with me on the importance of sharing this passenger data to defend us against terrorism. I want to thank the European Union, EU Vice President Frattini, and my European counterparts for their cooperation and efforts to reach this agreement without impeding travel. I look forward to a continued dialogue with the European Union regarding our data sharing capabilities.  

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