03 Sep 2009

The EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) System and Human Rights: Transferring Passenger Data or Passenger Freedom?

Evelien Brouwer

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The European Commission presented the ‘EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) system’ in 2007 as a tool in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. One of the proposed instruments of this system is the Framework Decision on the use of PNR, which provides for the storage and exchange of passenger data between EU member states and between member states and non-EU countries. Current Council proposals make clear that the passenger data may also be used to investigate other (serious) crimes or to prevent illegal immigration, which raises both practical and legal concerns.
This Working Document by Evelien Brouwer looks at the legal rights implications of the EU PNR system, focusing in particular on international human rights standards. It is to be hoped that, when preparing the so-called ‘Stockholm programme’, including a new multiannual programme for policies in the field of freedom, security and justice, both the EU institutions and member states will take these standards sufficiently into account.