Labour MEPs: PNR directive and data protection laws will help combat terror and safeguard privacy

The European Parliament will vote tomorrow for the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive and data protection package.

The PNR directive will provide uniform regulation on the processing and sharing of flight data between EU countries, enabling law enforcement to view the data via a dedicated database. This passenger information is already collected in some nations, including the UK, which will opt into the directive.

At the same time, the data protection package – as called for previously by Labour MEPs in several resolutions – will ensure the provisions of the measures are aligned and will mean a clear legal framework is in place for the use and sharing of personal data.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“The PNR directive will provide a useful tool to assist police and intelligence agencies in tracking down possible terrorists and criminals. If the data is used and shared effectively by law enforcement agencies it will assist in the fight against terror, but should not be presented as a silver bullet.

“The directive also contains a number of safeguards to ensure it complies with data protection rules and is proportional.

“Only a narrow list of serious crimes will justify the use of PNR, and data protection officers appointed in each country’s passenger information unit will ensure compliance with these requirements – names are masked after six months and requests to access PNR data beyond this point will need to adhere to strict conditions.”

Mr Moraes added:

“The key to the success of this regulation, however, will be whether it is swiftly used and implemented by EU countries.

“What the last few years have shown is that while measures have been adopted at EU level, national governments must make better use of European instruments to combat terrorism and provide funding to Europe-wide anti-terrorism bodies.”