EU just two votes away from scooping up air passenger data

While the two votes might be formalities, it will be two more years before the Passenger Name Record Directive takes effect

A system for tracking European air passengers is just two votes -- and two years -- away from implementation, after national governments agreed Friday to a text proposed by the European Parliament.

But even if the text is ratified promptly, EU rules mean it won't take effect for another two years.

There's no plan to create a single, central database about passengers flying into and out of the European Union. Rather, each member state will set up its own passenger information unit to gather data from airlines using its airports. Airlines will have to hand over data about those on flights entering or leaving the EU, and countries may choose to collect data on intra-EU flights too.

The goal of the legislation, the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive, is to detect, prevent and investigate terrorist offenses and serious crime. EU legislators have become more impatient to reach a deal following the recent attacks in Paris, although none of those behind the attacks flew to the city.

The compromise reached Friday between national ministers and the parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) sets out the ways in which the data can be used, such as for determining the risk presented by passengers before their arrival, and the length of time it can be stored.

Records of passengers' names, travel dates, itineraries, ticket information, contact details, booking agents, means of payment, seat numbers and baggage information will be stored for six months, after which the names of the passenger and any others travelling on the same reservation will be masked out, with the remaining data stored for another four-and-a-half years.

Police already use such information in their investigations, but procedures differ from country to country. Legislators want to harmonize those rules across Europe.

LIBE committee member and author of the compromise text, Timothy Kirkhope, said he preferred to see a single system that included privacy protection, rather than the existing patchwork of rules. "The choice is not between an EU PNR system and no EU PNR system, it is between an EU PNR system and 28 national PNR systems that will have vastly differing, or absent, standards for protecting passenger data," he said Friday.

The committee will vote to formally accept the compromise text he proposed on Dec. 10, and then submit it to Parliament for a final vote early next year.

But the rules won't take effect overnight: EU directives are not laws in themselves, but instructions to the national government to pass their own laws having the same effect. They have two years to do so.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?