Press release: European Parliament pushes for more surveillance and profiling of EU citizens

By EDRi · July 15, 2015

Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of the EU PNR proposal, European Digital Rights (EDRi) statement:

Today, the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee adopted a proposal for the long-term storage of passengers on all flights entering and leaving the EU. The data will be used for profiling of innocent individuals as possible serious criminals. Two years after the rejection of the first proposal, the LIBE Commitee has now abandoned its position on the establishment of an EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) system.

“Sadly, the Civil Liberties Committee appears unable to resist the temptation to reject its own considered views. It rejected illegal telecoms data retention, it then approved illegal telecoms data retention, it rejected PNR data profiling, it then adopted PNR data profiling. It approved bilateral deals to store PNR data for 15 years and for five and a half years and now a Directive with a storage period of five years. Meanwhile the European Court ruled that storage of personal data for arbitary periods is illegal, but respect for the law appears not to be a concern when adopting law enforcement measures,”

said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights.

After the terrorist attacks in France and Denmark and months of pressure from national governments for increased access to personal data, the legislation was brought back to be voted on again. Since the Committee rejected the draft Directive in 2013, the European Commission has distributed 50 million euro for the establishment of several national PNR systems. In doing this, the Commission ignored the concerns previously raised by the LIBE Committee as well of those of data protection and human rights expert bodies. More importantly, the development of national PNR programmes helped to generate a harmonisation problem that the Commission now claims needs to be solve.

The proposal that was passed today by the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament foresees the blanket retention of all passengers’ data flying in and out of the EU, storing the data for the entirely arbitrary period of five years. To date, and despite countless requests, the Commission has not been able to show that an EU PNR scheme (nor, indeed, any of the chaotic, mishmash of bilateral PNR agreements currently in place) would meet the standards of proportionality and necessity established by the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the aftermath of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling invalidating the Data Retention Directive, it is hard to imagine how the proposed arbitrary period of maximum five year retention for every citizen’s travel data could be considered necessary and proportionate.

Read more:

EU PNR: Unproven, ineffective strategies are not security (14.07.2015)

EU Parliament to vote on indiscriminate collection and storage of travel data on 15 July (13.07.2015)

“We still need to watch you, really”: PNR back in the Parliament (02.04.2015)