MEPs Back Airline Passenger Data Collection System

Bulgaria in EU | July 16, 2015, Thursday // 10:59|  views

Photo by BGNES

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) approved Wednesday draft EU rules on sharing and protecting the Passenger Name Record (PNR) data of people flying to or from the EU, and its use by member states and Europol to fight terrorism and serious transnational crime.

The LIBE backed an amended version of the so-called "Passenger Name Record" proposal.

The amended rules were approved by 32 votes to 27. The mandate to open negotiations with the EU Council of Ministers was approved by 36 votes to 14, with 8 abstentions, according to a media statement of the LIBE.

The passenger name record (PNR) system would contain data such as seat numbers, contact details, itineraries and payment information.

The PNR rules would apply to air carriers and non-carriers such as travel agencies and tour operators operating "international flights", i.e. those to or from the EU, according to the committee amendments. They would not apply to “intra-EU” flights between EU member states.

Under the amended rules, PNR data could be processed "only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and certain types of serious transnational crime".

The list approved by MEPs includes, for example, trafficking in human beings, sexual exploitation of children, drug trafficking, trafficking in weapons, munitions and explosives, money laundering and cybercrime.

PNR data transferred by air carriers and non-carriers would be retained in the national PIU for an initial period of 30 days, after which all data elements which could serve to identify a passenger would have to be "masked out", and then for up to five years.

The "masked out" data would be accessible only to a limited number of PIU staff, with security training and clearance, for up to four years in serious transnational crime cases and five years for terrorism ones.

After the five years, PNR data would have to be permanently deleted, unless the competent authorities are using it for specific criminal investigations or prosecutions (in which case the retention of data would be regulated by the national law of the member state concerned).

MEPs inserted new provisions requiring member states to share PNR data with each other and with Europol and stipulating conditions for doing so. EU countries should use Europol's Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) system to share PNR data. A one-stop shop could be created to register and pass on requests for information exchanges, MEPs suggest.

This vote gives the rapporteur a mandate to start negotiations with the EU Council of Ministers to agree on the draft directive. The three-way talks between Parliament, Council and Commission negotiators (“trilogues”) should start soon.


Tags: Passenger Name Record, pnr data, Civil Liberties Committee, LIBE, European parliament, MEPs, airline

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