Tuesday, November 22, 2005
No big deal . . .
we'll just bar them from flying to the United States.
The European Union's transfer of airline passenger data to the United States -- part of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism -- should be declared illegal, an adviser to the European Union's highest court said on Tuesday.You know, I have no idea whether that is an accurate statement of the law in Europe. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
Since May, 2004, the EU has shared with U.S. authorities 34 categories of information on airline passengers flying to U.S. destinations, including name, address, all forms of payment information and contact phone numbers.
The agreement sprang from one of the anti-terrorism laws passed by U.S. Congress in response to September 11, 2001, attacks using hijacked aircraft.
A court statement said: "Neither the (European Union) Council decision approving the agreement nor the (European) Commission decision holding that information be sufficiently protected by the United States have an adequate legal basis."
If the European Court of Justice accepts the advice of its adviser the data-sharing system will be made illegal.Well, that's fine. And the proper American response is pretty simple. Bar all such flights from entering U.S. airspace.
The Luxembourg-based court will likely rule next year. It follows the lead of its advisers in most cases.
I suspect that would put an end to that policy fairly quickly. I guess Europe could reciprocate, but tourism to Europe is already down -- what would they do to keep their feeble economies hobbling along without a bunch of fat American tourists with even fatter American wallets to prop them up?