The issues raised by the EU’s European Passenger Names Record system are complex and potentially controversial. Hans in Copehagen asks: “There is a lot of debate about creating a European Passenger Names Record system. How would it work and why is this topic so sensitive ?”
Sergio Carrera, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies responds: EU PNR will be a super big new EU database which will monitor all EU citizens travelling by air inside the European Union. It will contain data, mass amount of data.
“Data would include not only the usual information that police and authorities have of EU citizens travelling, but also more sensitive data, such as forms of payments and other pieces of information that would allow the police to do a profile of the person as a potential suspect of terrorism.
“It would pose a very important contradiction with the free movement principle and Schengen, which is based on not systematic checks when an EU national moves from a member state to another member state.
“The EU PNR proposal is currently under discussion. A previous version of the Commission initiative was rejected by the European Parliament committee on Civil Liberties, on grounds of lack of proportionality of the kind of information that the Commission was proposing to include in the database, as well as the time set period when this data will be stored.
“There is a new version of the proposal being considered, which is secret, and we don’t know precisely how the Commission is going to address the concerns of the European Parliament in this new initiative”.