Data protection must be given priority – passenger data should not be retained!

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 “The European Commission is pushing through the agreement on the transfer of passenger data to the United States at break-neck speed,” Andrej Hunko said with regard to the planned new PNR agreement.

Airlines are required by the agreement to collect large amounts of data about their passengers and pass it on in advance to the US Department of Homeland Security. Passengers can be refused entry to the United States on the basis of the data, with airlines being required to implement this decision. At the weekend the draft of the new agreement – which is still the subject of criticism from civil rights groups and many MEPs – was leaked.

Andrej Hunko also stated:

“The responsible parliamentary bodies at EU level are being steamrollered. Despite a number of reservations, including on the part of the German government’s representatives in Brussels, the current draft was presented by the Commission two weeks ago as a final version.


“Prior to this, the draft was kept secret even from MEPs. The current version has now been urgently transmitted to the United States with a notification that the agreement is to be adopted at the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 13 December 2011.

“However, many of the European Parliament’s stipulations have not been implemented. The “anonymisation” of the data which is now being offered is a joke: the data can easily be made readable again. The Commission has not been able to rebut claims that the PNR agreement does not provide any means for legal redress.

“While police use of data relating to passenger movements is growing, there are further delays in establishing a data protection agreement between the EU and the United States. Negotiations on this agreement on the protection of personal data with regard to its transfer and processing for the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of crimes have been dragging on for years.

“Despite the explosion in the amount of data being shared, the United States refuses to provide legal remedies for non-US citizens. Limits on what the data can be used for and retention periods are also the subject of dispute.

“Fundamental rights and freedoms are still secondary concerns in the context of transatlantic cooperation.”