Homeland Security, Information Policy, and the Transatlantic Alliance
Stewart A. Baker
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Nathan Alexander Sales
Syracuse University College of Law
March 17, 2009
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 09-20
This short essay uses a recent case study - the controversy surrounding the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's access to European airline reservation data - as a vehicle for exploring the European Union's new enthusiasm for projecting its data-privacy values globally. We begin by discussing how DHS uses passenger name records, or "PNR," to detect potential terrorist operatives. We then examine the legal authorities under which passenger data is collected and used, including domestic constitutional and statutory norms as well as principles of international law. Next, the essay discusses the hostile response of some EU policymakers to DHS's use of reservation data, and offers possible explanations for their efforts to apply European data-privacy principles to American national-security initiatives. Finally, we propose solutions to transatlantic conflicts that will help preserve both individual privacy and national autonomy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: ATS, al Qaeda, Automated Targeting System, counterterrorism, Fourth Amendment, frequent flyer number, Iraq, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Markle Foundation report, no fly list, passport, scrutiny, search and seizure, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
JEL Classification: F50, F51, F52, F53, H50, H56, K33, K42, O33, O38, P13, R40
Date posted: March 18, 2009
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