Europe's leaders were accused today of sacrificing privacy rights in the fight against terrorism.
European Liberal Democrat leader in the European Parliament Graham Watson was reacting to today's formal signing in Washington of an agreement to pass full details of transatlantic air passengers to the US security authorities.
The European Parliament voted down the plan earlier this month and appealed for a European Court ruling on the legality of the data transfer, saying the level of information being handed over breaches strict EU data protection laws.
But the MEPs' objections have been brushed aside to comply with US demands for widespread access to information as part of the anti-terror crackdown.
Washington had warned that failure to agree could risk delays and chaos to flights to America from the EU countries.
Mr Watson commented: “It is most regrettable that the Commission and the Council (EU governments) have ignored the European Parliament's objections to this deal.
“This is a further example of the worrying trend whereby individual rights are being overridden in the fight against terrorism, as Amnesty International's recent report has shown. [Privacy Digest]