Thursday, February 03, 2011

EU air passenger data scheme raises many questions

The European Commission has proposed a mandatory system to oblige airlines to hand over reservation and payment details of passengers on EU-bound flights to counter terrorism and serious crime.

The EU already allows the US, Australia and Canada to oblige airlines departing from the EU to pass over these Passenger Name Records (PNR). This new system would only apply to flights arriving from or departing to somewhere outside the EU, with a review after 2 years to decide whether it should apply to intra-EU flights.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"The Liberal EU home affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has done a good job in tightening up the proposed safeguards over the first proposal in 2007, such as strict limits on storage of data, protection against sensitive 'profiling' and redress for complaints.

"But MEPs will still need to subject this to detailed scrutiny. We must not accept 'mission creep' whereby police and border authorities can use the data too widely, for instance in investigation of crimes which are not the most serious.

"Why should the US be allowed to apply laxer privacy safeguards to the information of EU citizens flying the Atlantic than Europe will to Americans' data, which is what current proposals amount to?"

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