Britons using their credit cards to book flights to the US could have their account details and email messages inspected by the US authorities.
A new deal between the EU and Washington will allow the US access to personal information in order to combat terrorism and tighten security in the aviation sector.
Under the agreement, airlines must hand over up to 34 items of Passenger Name Record (PNR) if they are requested by the US Department of Homeland Security. The information was published by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) following a freedom of information request by The Daily Telegraph.
Previous credit card transactions may be inspected and those providing an email address could have their other messages scrutinised.
“Every airline is obliged to conform with these rules if they wish to continue flying,” a DfT spokesman told The Daily Telegraph. “As part of the terms of carriage, it is made clear to passengers what these requirements are.”
Global airline security was stepped up following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The current deal for airlines to provide passenger information was originally agreed in 2005, but the EU’s highest court later decided that it was illegal.
However, security concerns eventually won out and Brussels agreed in October last year to get rid of the “bureaucratic hurdles” that stood in the way of the agreement. The full report can be viewed online at the DfT website.