International flights land at Los Angeles International Airport.
International flights land at Los Angeles International Airport. - 

KAI RYSSDAL: Airlines have been giving the U.S. government their passenger lists for years. Since even before September 11th. That requirement became a lot more detailed after the attacks. But today the European court of justice ruled a major American anti-terrorism program is illegal. From the Marketplace European Desk in London, Stephen Beard has that story.

STEPHEN BEARD: The Court's decision strikes at the heart of an anti-terrorist deal reached between the US and the EU two years ago.

Under the deal airlines flying into the states must provide the US extensive data about their passengers well before landing. The data includes details like names, addresses, credit-card numbers and even meal preferences.

The European Parliament opposed this arrangement from the outset says Legislator Sophie in 't Veld.

SOPHIE IN 'T VELD: EU citizens had no means for legal redress in case something went wrong in the protection of their personal data. That was one of the key problems.

The European Court hasn't ruled on the issue of whether the agreement violates civil rights, merely that it was reached without parliamentary approval.

The Court has given the US four months to strike another deal.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.