The S&D Group has called for safeguards to protect EU citizens’ personal information during a vote on the storing and processing of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. The vote took place in the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee and gives a mandate for negotiations to begin with the Commission and Council over the final legislation. The aim is for this to be negotiated in parallel with the Data Protection Package and to work towards an agreement by the end of 2015.
PNR data refers to the information provided by passengers when booking airline tickets and when checking-in to flights. The proposal from the Commission is for this information to be stored in a more systematic way, so that it can be used by European law enforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism and serious cross-border crime.
Tanja Fajon, Vice President of the S&D Group said:
"The S&D Group supported the proposal but also called for clearer safeguards to ensure the data is used only for its intended purpose, that it meets legal data protection standards, and complies with the principle of necessity and proportionality.
"We need measures that are effective, necessary and proportionate for the detection and prevention of serious crimes. Socialists and Democrats are clearly saying NO massive surveillance of EU citizens! We will continue our fight to protect fundamental rights of passengers!"
Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson for the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee said:
"Passenger flight information may help our law enforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism and serious cross-border crime. However, this does not mean that we can give security services a carte blanche to do what they please with EU citizens’ personal information.
"We have fought to secure safeguards that ensure that this information is only used for the purpose intended - to tackle serious cross-border crime and terrorism - by excluding domestic and internal EU flights from the legislation.
"For me the main point of concern is the indiscriminate collection of the data of all passengers which may contravene the CJEU judgement on data retention. We will continue to put pressure on the negotiators to reach an agreement that can be supported by a large majority in the European Parliament."