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EU air passenger surveillance system could be ready for take-off by year end

Loek Essers | Feb. 16, 2015
Despite privacy concerns and doubts over its usefulness, a plan to track passengers entering or leaving the European Union in a series of national databases is likely to become reality by the end of the year.

The usefulness of a PNR system has also been questioned by opponents, who argue that such a system would not have prevented the Paris attacks.

By pushing for an EU PNR directive,the Parliament is backing plans for more data centralization and more data storage without a cause, while ignoring the jurisprudence of the CJEU, said Alexander Sander managing director of German digital rights group Digitale Gesellschaft, in a Wednesday blog post.

In the Parliament, only the Green party still opposes an EU PNR system. Instead of investing an estimated €500 million in illegal surveillance of air passengers, it wants the money spent on field work and cooperation between police and security authorities.

However, being only a small party, the Greens are likely to lose this battle.

Meanwhile, the EU heads of state also agreed that law enforcement should step up information sharing and operational cooperation, while countries should also deepen cooperation of security services. Additionally, authorities should step up action to trace financial flows and to freeze assets used for financing terrorism. Detecting and removing Internet content promoting terrorism in cooperation with Internet companies is also a priority for the member states.

The next step for the proposals will be in April, when the Commission will present its security plans. The Council will report on the detailed implementation of the proposed measures in June.

 

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