European Data Protection Supervisor: Comments on ECJ judgment on PNR

"seems to create a loophole in the protection of the European citizen since it is no longer assured that data collected for commercial purposes but used by police are protected by the data protection directive"

"The EDPS has provided his initial reactions to the judgment of the Court of Justice in the two PNR-cases concerning the transfer of flight passenger's personal data to the US. The EDPS has used, for the first time in these cases, his powers to intervene before the Court in support of the Parliament.

The Court has now decided to annul the decisions of the Council and the Commission on which the access of US authorities to PNR-data of European airlines was based, without entering into the substance of these decisions. Ruling that the wrong legal basis was chosen since the processing operations concern public security and activities of criminal law, the Court states that it is not decisive that the data had originally been collected for commercial purposes (the air transport of the passengers).

The judgement is very important from the perspective of data protection and a careful analysis of its consequences is needed. The initial reaction of the EDPS is that the judgement:

• addresses the scope of the data protection directive (95/46), notably when it comes to interaction with law enforcement.

• seems to create a loophole in the protection of the European citizen since it is no longer assured that data collected for commercial purposes but used by police are protected by the data protection directive.

The judgement will take effect after a transition period that expires by 30 September. The EDPS insists that all actors make use of this time to come to a balanced solution. For his part, the EDPS will be available as an advisor to the EU institutions in the proposals for replacing instruments. He will also work actively with the national data protection authorities of the EU Member States."



Statewatch News online | Join Statewatch news e-mail list | Download a free sample issue of Statewatch bulletin

Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.