On 25 November the European Parliament voted, by 383 votes to 271, in favour of a resolution to refer the EU-Canada agreement on Passenger Name Records (PNR) to the European Court of Justice (CJEU). The CJEU will now decide on the compliance of the agreement with EU law, in particular the Charter of Fundamental Rights. As explained in previous EDRi-gram articles, PNR data has become an attractive and invasive source for governments to obtain personal data.
Despite the fact that the necessity and proportionality of this invasion on citizens’ privacy is still to be proved, agreements and norms related to PNR are either already in force (as it is the case of EU PNR agreements with USA and Australia) or being discussed (the draft EU PNR Directive). After the adoption of the resolution, further discussions on the EU-Canada agreement are now likely to be put on hold in the European Parliament. However, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos confirmed in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) meeting on 3 December that they will continue their work on the draft proposal for a EU PNR Directive because, apparently, PNR has nothing to do with data retention.
In the following weeks the developments of future surveillance mechanisms based on PNR data have to be carefully followed. Despite the initial concern of some EU authorities raised by Snowden’s revelations regarding the US espionage activities, the need for civil society to be able to react rapidly to European attempts to expand surveillance measures is as necessary as ever.
Press release: MEPs refer EU-Canada air passenger data deal to the EU Court of Justice (25.11.2014)
Draft motion for a resolution pursuant to Rule 108(6) of the Rules of Procedure on seeking an opinion from the Court of Ju stice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data (2014/2966(RSP))
(Contribution by Diego Naranjo, EDRi)