Equipo Nizkor
        Bookshop | Donate
Derechos | Equipo Nizkor       


MEPs reject EU passenger data storage scheme

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee voted today (24 April) to reject a proposed EU system of storing the private data of airline passengers along the lines of an equivalent US scheme.

Air carriers collect passenger name records, or PNR, data during reservation and check-in procedures for flights entering or leaving the EU, including the passenger's name, address, phone number and credit card details.

In February 2011, the Commission proposed obliging air carriers to provide EU countries with the personal data of passengers. This would be used to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute serious crimes or terrorist offences.

The draft rule was rejected in Parliament's civil liberties committee by a vote of 30-25. The Greens and the European United Left/Nordic Green Alliance voted the proposal down, with the support of most committee members from the Socialists and Democrats and Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

The European People's Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists groups supported the proposal.

The Greens welcomed the vote, with home affairs and civil liberties spokesperson Jan Philipp Albrecht, saying: "MEPs have today voted to put the basic rights of citizens and the rule of law first by rejecting the proposed EU PNR system. This far-reaching system would have led to the mandatory retention and analysis of passengers' private data, flying in the face of EU principles on privacy and data protection."

Opponents of the measure called on the EU executive to re-think its proposals.

Meanwhile, rapporteur Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, Britain) and other MEPs expressed concern about the vote's possible impact on EU counterterrorism policy, and asked that the matter be referred to the full Parliamentary chamber for a further vote.

The chairman of the civil liberties committee, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (Socialists and Democrats, Spain) called for the matter be put to Parliament's conference of presidents in order to decide how to proceed.


"This disproportionate proposal would have been a grave departure from the constitutional presumption of innocence. This unacceptable paradigm shift in security policy would reverse the presumption of innocence, as well as breaching rulings of constitutional courts in Europe and the European Court of Human Rights," according to home affairs and civil liberties spokesperson Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP (Germany; Greens).

"Thankfully, MEPs have voted to prevent this and to defend the rule of law and fundamental rights in Europe. This decision must now be respected: the European Commission must withdraw this wrongheaded proposal," added Albrecht.

"Allowing law enforcement authorities access to the Eurodac database, where fingerprints of asylum seekers are stored, effectively puts asylum seekers under suspicion of having committed a crime, which is unacceptable. In addition, this policy contributes to the acceptance of racist views and therefore only serves to boost extremist right-wing groups," according to Cornelia Ernst MEP (Germany; Nordic Green Left)

[Source: EurActiv, European Parliament, 24Apr13]

Tienda de Libros Radio Nizkor On-Line Donations

DDHH en Espaņa
small logoThis document has been published on 10May13 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.