EU Parliament: Passenger name record and data protection

The European Parliament today, Thursday, decided in favor of the controversial Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive. It intends that European airlines save the data of their passengers for six months and forward them to authorities. Background is the fight against terrorism, but also against drugs trafficking, trafficking in human beings, child sexual exploitation and other serious crimes.


At the same time, the Parliament adopted the data protection reform, with which the diverse regulations of the Member States should become unified standards. The protection for private persons should improve and it should become easier for companies to deal with data protection. Furthermore, a special Directive addresses data protection issues with regards to prosecution and law enforcement.


All information about the data protection reform is available in this press statement.


Background: PNR Directive


The so called "PNR Directive" (Passenger Name Record) was proposed by the EU Commission 2011 and led to vigorous debates ever since. After the attacks in Paris and Brussels, the resistance based on data protection concerns started to decrease. After today's decision, the Council still has to approve. Afterwards, Member States have to implement the Directive within two years.


What does PNR mean?


Passenger Name Records include all information that the airlines have stored in their booking and departure control systems. This includes travel dates, travel itinerary, ticket information, contact details, the travel agent through which the flight was booked, means of payment used, seat number and baggage information.


According to the PNR Directive, European air carriers have to submit the PNR to the Member States. They will be stored for six months. This does not only apply to domestic flights within the EU, but also to outgoing or incoming flights that involve third countries.


In a joint statement, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The EU PNR Directive will improve the safety and security of our citizens, while also including robust privacy and data protection safeguards ensuring full compliance with the right to data protection."  The Directive would be necessary in order to strenghten the EU's position in the fight against terrorism, not least considering the most recents attacks within the Union.


All details about the PNR Directive is summarised in this press release by the EU Parliament.

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