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Childers: MEPs should vote against new EU passenger name record system (PNR)

News item

Monday 11 Apr 2016

Independent MEP for Dublin, Nessa Childers has called on her fellow Irish MEPs to reject the proposed new EU passenger name record system (PNR).  This system for recording and retaining passenger information will go before MEPs in Strasbourg this week.

“We must be extremely vigilant and not allow measures to be passed under duress due to the heightened security situation. The mass surveillance measures included in the proposal, dating back to 2013, have been blocked by the European Parliament for infringing on personal privacy rights. These serious concerns have not been addressed by the text we are now voting on.

“It is very regrettable that a security crisis is being used to jeopardise important privacy rights, without addressing the real weaknesses in police cooperation in Europe, and failing to respect the spirit of the ruling from the European Court of Justice in 2014 against the retention of the private data of individuals without suspicion.

“This is a bad deal for both the liberty and the security of European citizens. On the one hand, we’ll be treating every passenger as a potential suspect, yet we bizarrely keep a loophole open for private and charter flights to slip past these requirements. Moreover, nothing is done to ensure that positive hits and intelligence gathered with the help of this system are passed on to the colleagues who need it across the border.

“We’re casting an impossibly wide net, and one that is riddled with holes.

“Many of us demanded and failed to include a review clause and to demand the collection of data that would test the yet unproven belief that mass surveillance is making us safer.

“We are at once making security promises to our citizens that we are not delivering on, and failing to protect the liberties they entrust us with.

“I fear we are setting ourselves up for a further encroachment of fundamental rights if these measures prove inadequate in the prevention of future attacks.”


Note to Editor

There no unified system of collecting information on passengers travelling by air into the EU, and the Parliament is voting this week in Strasbourg to pass an agreement on a new EU passenger name record system . If passed the system would then enter into force, with EU member states to implement the system within two years