The European Commission has announced that it will negotiate deals to prevent countries like Pakistan from providing travel data to the United States — except when the US already suspects a particular traveler or is otherwise investigating a particular case. In other words, the European Commission wants to bar the kind of wholesale data exchange that’s needed to spot at the border terrorists who have successfully disguised themselves as tourists. And it plans to withhold all European travel reservation data from Pakistan unless the Pakistanis agree to join a data boycott of the United States.
Remarkably, Brussels is pursuing this data boycott despite a solemn promise to the United States that it would not take such action.
Interestingly, the principles wouldn’t prevent Pakistan from giving the same information to European countries. Quite the contrary. The EU’s new principles for negotiation will require such sharing: “Information about terrorism and serious transnational crime resulting from the analysis of PNR data by third countries should be shared with EUROPOL, EUROJUST and EU Member States.”
So, in the current threat, the European Union’s principles would work this way: European countries would get the data from Pakistan that they need to protect themselves from returning terrorists, and the United States, well, the United States wouldn’t.
This is all bad enough. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is that it all violates a promise made in 2007 to not do exactly this in response to a previous attempt to pull similar stunts.
I’ll admit if the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA looked more competent they’d also look more trustworthy with personal data. But if Europe was doing this due to privacy concerns blah blah blah, they’d be demanding that such information not be collected at all. They’re demanding no such thing. In fact, they’re demanding that THEY get that information while also demanding that it NOT be shared with the US.
As Europe is geographically much more at risk from Middle Eastern terrorists than North America is, this could easily be seen as an attempt to make the US a bit easier to strike, relatively speaking. Sort of a shift of the threat in another direction.
Murdoc is having trouble not seeing this as a pretty blatant attempt to side with what the US considers “the other side.” In the absence of real data, there is going to be a tendency to think all Europeans spent time in Pakistan with extremist groups, isn’t there? Is that what the EC wants?
The bad guys want exactly that, of course. But does Europe?