17 Jun 2011

Ignoring Dissent and Legality: The EU’s proposal to share the personal information of all passengers

Evelien Brouwer

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In February 2011, the European Commission published a proposal for a new Directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crimes. This proposal replaces an earlier draft of 2007 for a Framework Decision on the use of PNR data for law enforcement purposes. The new proposal does not seem to allay the earlier concerns of important stakeholders with regard to the 2007 proposal. Its content contradicts not only important principles of data protection as described by the Commission in November 2010, but also the principle of proportionality underlying EU law. This paper examines the extended purpose and (lack of) added value of this proposal. It also considers its relation to the Directive on advanced passenger information and PNR agreements between the EU and third countries, the lack of harmonisation and the consequences for the fundamental rights of individuals.
Evelien Brouwer is Associate Professor, Utrecht University.