Hamas irked at new European Union ruling, calls it 'unfair'

Posted July 27, 2017

The European Union's top court said in a written opinion Wednesday that parts of a deal between the EU and Canada on sharing airline passenger data breaches citizens' privacy and the agreement can not be concluded in its current form.

"The main elements of the statement are political, which are practically used to disguise the fact that there are no legal arguments in it", Pal Volner, state secretary of the Justice Ministry was cited as saying by the state news agency MTI.

The court said that transferring passenger data from the European Union to Canada and the possibility that the information could be shared with others "entail an interference with the fundamental right to respect for private life".

Despite retaining Hamas on the list, the ECJ said Sri Lankan separatist group the Tamil Tigers would be taken off the blacklist, upholding the General Court's decision three years ago.

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Civil liberties campaign groups said the court's pushback against the agreement with Canada could have a domino effect and knock down similar data agreements.

Plus, the wide-ranging agreement would violate flight passengers' privacy rights because it allows authorities to exchange data that could reveal "a complete travel itinerary, travel habits, relationships existing between two or more individuals, and information on the financial situation of air passengers, their dietary habits or their state of health, and may even provide sensitive information".

The lower court's ruling had triggered a furious reaction by Israeli diplomats and some leaders of Jewish organisations and communities. "The envisaged agreement may not be concluded in its current form".

The ECJ said transferring the data would "entail an interference with the fundamental right to respect for private life".

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But after consultations with security chiefs and members of his security cabinet, Mr Netanyahu decided not to order them removed. Israel sealed off the site in the aftermath of the attack, saying the closure was necessary to carry out security checks .

The European Commission said it would work with Canada to address the issues raised by the ECJ so that security cooperation could continue.

But King reaffirmed that the PNR deal is "critical" for security and that a changed version would respect European Union data protection rules.

The earlier decision to drop Hamas from the terrorist blacklist triggered outrage in the United States and Israel because, as both countries argue, Brussels had made the decision based on the information from the Internet and the media.

He said 10 European Union states were dragging their heels on transposing the EU's PNR deal into national law in time for the deadline next May.

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