US demands air travellers' data

privacy       2003-02-20 
All passengers flying to the US from Britain will have personal information, including credit card details, handed over to the American authorities before they set foot on US soil, under a deal agreed yesterday.
The information a passenger submits to airline computers when buying a ticket - the passenger name record (PNR) - will be freely available to customs, immigration and other agencies in the US, where there are no data protection laws.
This includes basic details a traveller is obliged to give the airline such as full name, itinerary and contact phone number, but also a wealth of personal information.
The deal was struck between the European commission and America and is binding on all British airlines.
Despite fears that the American demand clashed with European data protection laws, the commission complied after the US authorities had threatened to stop flights to America.