New push for EU-wide air passenger data exchange after Paris terror attacks



Edited Package
The recent attacks in France and the foiled plot in Belgium involving foreign fighters have revitalised the drive for closer international cooperation among law enforcement, including a common databank of air travelers.
CB off Known as PNR, or Passenger Name Records, a proposed Europe-wide system supported by the EPP Group was narrowly defeated in the European Parliament in 2013.
Opponents, including the Socialists and Liberals, saw it as an invasion of privacy. But that criticism has diminished since the latest attacks carried out by homegrown terrorists who had fought or trained in Syria with Islamic extremists.
European Council President Donald Tusk, a member of the EPP family, called for PNR to be the council's common initiative in response to the terror attacks in France that left 17 people dead.
The Association of European Airlines as well as the International Air Transport Association – lent their support to a call for PNR back in September last year by then-European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
For the airlines, a common PNR would be far more efficient and effective, instead of more than a dozen national PNRs in Europe today.
PNR data, under guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, include the passenger's name, phone number, itinerary, seat number, baggage information and form of payment.
Identifying travel patterns of terror suspects via PNR will help authorities track the movements of those traveling to training camps or conflict zones.
The proposal doesn't require airlines or passengers to provide any additional information. The data can be kept up to five years and can be provided to a third country under strict conditions – no bulk data transfers allowed.
Support for a Europe-wide PNR also comes from the head of Europol, Rob Wainwright. He says as many as 5,000 suspects have traveled from Europe to conflicts in Syria and Iraq. And Passenger Name Records, he says, would give more muscle to the counter-terrorist dragnet.
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Headline New push for EU-wide air passenger tracking after Paris terror attacks
Description The EPP Group presses for the European Parliament to approve EU-wide a Passenger Name Records or PNR system, to track terror suspects after the recent deadly attacks in Paris. The legislation would strictly control use of the data from PNR to comply with EU laws on privacy protection.
Tags Anti-terror, PNR, airlines, privacy, EPP Group, European Parliament, EU, Brussels
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  • Ioannis Zografos
    EPP TV Managing Producer
    +32(0) 2 284 18 45