EU endorses idea of collecting air passenger data
25.07.08 @ 09:16
BRUSSELS - EU interior ministers have given their general backing to a Brussels-drafted proposal to collect, store and analyse air passengers' personal data so that security agencies across Europe can identify high-risk travellers.
"We reached an agreement on the principle of the European PNR," French interior minister Michele Alliot-Marie said after meeting her colleagues on Thursday (24 July), referring to a system for the collection and analysis of passenger name records suggested by the European Commission in November last year as part of its new anti-terrorism strategy.
According to the ministerial deal, a number of working groups will be set up in order to look into different aspects of the proposal - including what exact information should be captured and whether the data should come only from foreigners flying to Europe or all passengers.
The duration of retention of personal data and how best to protect them also need to be studies by national experts in consultation with the European Parliament as well as transport sector, the French minister said.
EU home affairs commissioner Jacques Barrot wants the union's air passenger name recording scheme - similar to the controversial US database on European air travellers - to be up and running by the end of 2009.
The Netherlands and the UK have already been testing their own pilot projects.