According to the Washington Post, the United States and the European Union have agreed to compile and share a database of information on consumers who travel on aircrafts between the two continents.
The database will ostensibly be used to combat terrorism.
From the Washington Post (emphasis ours):
Under the agreement, airlines flying from Europe to the United States are required to provide data related to these matters to U.S. authorities if it exists in their reservation systems. The deal allows Washington to retain and use it only “where the life of a data subject or of others could be imperiled or seriously impaired,” such as in a counterterrorism investigation.
According to the deal, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes “racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership” and data about an individual’s health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.
How would an airline get this data? Currently they only store your credit card numbers, names, addresses, contact info, and itinerary. Under the new program, airlines could turn over any information they obtained from questioning you, or any special requests that you make, such as asking for a wheelchair or a king size bed at a hotel.
The article says that the reason they’d need to know if you requested a wheelchair is to determine if you were trying to hide a bomb in your fake leg cast. We’re not sure why they need to know you want a king size bed. Is there a link between terrorism and people who date people who kick a lot at night?
Travelers Face Greater Use of Personal Data [Washington Post] (Thanks, Ian!)