The EU directive on the use of passenger data requires airlines and other travel providers to provide personal data to the competent authorities before each trip. Belgium is the first EU Member State to apply this to land-based means of transport.
The Belgian government has decided to extend its passenger data system to coach and rail travel. This is what the International Railway Journal writes. It is therefore initially a test phase. According to an agreement with the British government, Belgian authorities receive the data of passengers using the Eurostar long-distance train, which runs between Brussels and London in the tunnel under the English Channel, before each arrival. Flixbus is the first bus company to take part in the exchange of passenger data. It is unclear whether the travel agencies in which the bus and train journeys are booked are also obliged to transmit the data. „Belgium wants passenger data of bus and train travellers from Great Britain“ weiterlesen
Once called for as an indispensable tool in the fight against terrorism, the implementation of the EU directive on the use of passenger data is slow.
The „Passenger Name Records“ (PNR) package adopted over two years ago should have been transposed into national law by all Member States by 25 May this year. However, a considerable number of governments have not yet reported this to the Commission. This was confirmed by EU Internal Affairs Commissioner Julian King at a hearing in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Previously, the civil rights organisation Statewatch had also reported on this.
According to the Directive, airlines, travel agencies and other operators have to transmit extensive personal data of their customers to the competent authorities before each trip. They are stored there for five years. These approximately 60 individual data fields include information on the itinerary, passengers, stopovers, hotels booked or rental cars. All booking information is processed, including e-mail address, billing address, travel agent responsible, languages of minors on the flight, food preferences or a doctorate. „EU police show little interest in processing passenger data“ weiterlesen
The European Union could soon save the date and place of each crossing of the EU’s external borders. Travellers’ identification documents would be read out and their biographical data saved along with information regarding border crossings. Police forces and intelligence services would have access to this data.
The European Commission published the final report of the High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability in May. According to this document, European border authorities could soon – unbeknownst to the travellers – be able to trawl through the travel routes of all nationals of EU member states. Alongside their biographical data, the system to be set up will log the direction in which borders are crossed. This new data repository on border crossings at all land, sea and air borders might form part of the Schengen Information System II (SIS II), which is the largest police and border authority database. Preference is being given to the establishment of an entirely new database, however. „New data retention planned for border crossings of all European Union citizens“ weiterlesen
Heiner Busch and Matthias Monroy. Translation by Viktoria Langer
The topic of counter-terrorism in Europe remains closely linked to the development and expansion of police (and secret service) databases. This was the case in the 1970s, after 11 September 2001 and has also been the case since 2014, when the EU Member States started working on their action plans against ‚foreign terrorist fighters‘.
The first effect of this debate has been a quantitative one: the amount of data in the relevant databases has increased explosively since 2015. This can be seen by looking in particular at available data on the Europol databases, like ‚Focal Points‘ (formerly: Analytical Work Files) of the Europol analysis system. Since 2015 they have become one of the central instruments of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) which was established in January 2016. „Counter-terrorism and the inflation of EU databases“ weiterlesen
The Council of the European Union has published a diagram of all of information systems in the realm of justice and home affairs. This overview includes databases operated by the police, customs and agencies, as well as by Interpol. It also features the agreement between the EU and the USA on exchanging data regarding financial transactions.
A new diagram is intended to make it easier for delegations from European Union member states to get to grips with the data landscape in the area of justice and home affairs. This was against the backdrop of the High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability launched in the summer of last year, which is tasked with the development of proposals to improve file-sharing. The group is made up of members of the Commission and the member states, as well as external “experts”.
All existing information systems are to be assessed and tested for their usefulness. Uniform formats that are developed by the Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office) and the police agency Europol are envisaged. A further aim is to improve the quality of the data supplied. A problem that the authorities run up against when dealing with decentralised systems is the fact that the member states often use different software programmes. The Expert Group is working to assess the feasibility of centralising systems in such cases. „Pretty complicated: The European data landscape“ weiterlesen
The PNR directive obliges air carriers to collect a whole host of data and pass it on to the border authorities in advance of all flights. This information includes registration data, seat and flight numbers, along with food preferences, credit card details or IP addresses. PNR passenger information units (PIUs) in the Member States then analyse the information to identify “suspects and anomalous travel patterns”.
On 27 April, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data. Information collected at the booking stage can now be used by police forces and intelligence services to “prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute” terrorist offences or serious crime. For flights from and to the EU, up to 60 individual pieces of data on passengers are collected and stored for five years. These include registration data, seat and flight numbers, along with food preferences, credit card details or IP addresses.
The collection of PNR data not only applies to airlines, but also to travel agencies, tour operators or other service providers who book flights. In the future, the plan is for European PNR data to also be exchanged with third countries or international organisations. „About the implementation of the EU Directive on the use of passenger name record data“ weiterlesen
Campaign against the next five-years plan for EU homeland affairs
Following Tampere 1999 and Hague 2004, the EU plans to decide the next five-year plan on „Justice and Home Affairs“ (JHA) this year.
After the implementation of data retention and new databases, the creation of „Frontex“ and the „European Security Research Programme“, the „harmonization“ of terrorism laws and more surveillance of the internet, next severe changes are foreseen to bet set in the new guideline.
Under swedish EU presidency in the second half of 2009, probably in November or December, the ministers of interior and justice will meet to agree the new „Stockholm Programme“. „Turn off the Stockholm Programme!“ weiterlesen