Portuguese American Journal

Diplomacy: Data accord approved to secure US Visa exemptions – Portugal

The Portuguese government has approved a controversial data sharing agreement with the United States on terrorist suspects that is now to the submitted to Parliament.

Portugal was required by the United States to agree by a data sharing agreement on terrorist suspects to be exempt from Visa obligations.

The US anti-terrorist information agreement, signed in Washington DC, on 24 July and approved by Portugal, regards air passengers traveling to the United States.

According to the agreement, Portuguese citizens traveling to the United States will continue to be exempt from US Visa requirements for stays of up to 30 days in the country.

All European Union states are signatories of the visa-exemption scheme, but not all have signed up to a data sharing accord.

The accord foresees the future sharing of information “only for the purposes of prevention and combat of terrorism and infractions related to terrorism as defined in the domestic law of each of the countries and in international law that applies,” according to a statement issued by the Portuguese government.

The data include the  release of name, address, phone number, credit card details, travel agency data and baggage as well as “sensitive” personal data such as a religious meal choice or requests for assistance due to a medical condition

The agreement requires that personal data be stored in an active data base for up to five years, though after first six months the information may be “depersonalized” and the passenger’s name masked out.

 paj.cm.lusa

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General Information on Portugal: Official Name: Portuguese Republic; Government Type: Parliamentary democracy; Population: 10,642,836; Area: 92,391 sq. km., including the Azores and Madeira Islands; slightly smaller than Indiana; Languages: Portuguese; Literacy: Total population: 93.3%; Male: 95.5%; Female: 91.3%;Year of Independence: 1143.