French official: Europe must defend privacy rights

PARIS (AP) ? The head of France’s data protection watchdog says Europe and the United States don’t agree on how to strike the right balance between protecting privacy rights and battling the threat of terrorism.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin says EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding should defend data privacy rights amid “strong” pressure from U.S. officials to get access to information about citizens for security reasons.

Falque-Pierrotin spoke Friday as Reding was heading to the U.S. to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano.

The EU said Thursday it had signed an accord with the United States over air-passenger data for flights from Europe to America that will limit what information U.S. officials can use and improves data protection.