The Czech lower house approved on Thursday two agreements, with the United States and Australia, which bind air carriers to pass passenger data on to each country’s authorities. Czech lawmakers approved the agreements that Washington and Canberra had drafted as part of the two countries’ fight against terrorism. The agreements were originally brought before the lower house in March 2008, but a vote on the matter has repeatedly been postponed. Speaking after Thursday’s vote, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said the agreement with the US provided guarantees for passengers’ personal data to be handled appropriately. American authorities are now entitled to hold on to passenger data provided by this country’s airlines for up to eight years. Five EU states are still to approve such an agreement with the United States on grounds of civil liberties issues.