This section of the Observatory brings together news, analysis and documentation on the EU's two key travel surveillance measures: the 2016 Passenger Name Record Directive and the 2004 Advance Passenger Information Directive.
The European Commission initially put forward a proposal for an EU Passenger Name Record system in 2007, but it was withdrawn following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. A new proposal (in the form of a Directive, rather than a Council Framework Decision) was issued in 2011. This went back and forth between the Council and Parliament until its final, controversial adoption in April 2016, when the Parliament caved in to pressure from the Council and Commission.
The German Council Presidency has asked member states whether they are using passenger data collected by airline companies to track people infected with COVID-19, with an eye to expanding the scope of EU legislation on the issue. Currently EU rules are limited to using passenger data for "preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences and serious crime."
The EU policing agency Europol sees itself having a major role in the future "EU travel intelligence architecture", according to a report on the October meeting of the EU's 'Informal Working Group on PNR' (Passenger Name Record).
The European Commission has sent "letters of formal notice" to 14 EU Member States for failing to to implement the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive by the deadline of 25 May 2018. Meanwhile, an 'Informal Working Group' set up by the Council to assist with national implementation of the Directive appears to be steadily expanding - Australia, Canada and the USA have all participated in meetings and invitations have been sent to Japan and the United Nations, according to a recent document.
In May this year the Council of the EU drew up an extensive "roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management" in relation to justice and home affairs policies - principally policing, migration and counter-terrorism. A recent leaked document provides a summary of progress on a number of those actions, including detailed information on how security checks in the "hotspots" in Italy and Greece function.
In short, yes it is "voluntary" but all Member States have agreed to extend the scope of the Directive from recording PNR data from flights in and out of the EU to also include all flights between Member States within the EU - at a stroke the scope of the measure massively extended. It will be interesting to see how the European Parliament will react.
French prime minister Manuel Valls has written to Gianni Pittella, chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, demanding the adoption of the EU Passenger Name Record Directive on air travel surveillance by the end of the year.
According to Politico, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are close to an agreement on the Passenger Name Record Directive, which would require the mass surveillance of air travel as a first step towards the surveillance of all mass transport.
Multi-column document, 507 pages.
The letter expresses substantial concerns over the scheme.
Police seeking information on airline passengers in Sweden have to receive it by fax or collect it from airlines in person, but are apparently waiting for EU legislation on Passenger Name Records before setting up digital databases.
A leaked European Commission note sets out considerations on "the best way forward to respond to the different calls for a swift adoption of the EU PNR [Passenger Name Record] proposal," which would introduce blanket law enforcement surveillance and profiling of all passengers arriving in the EU by air.
"In order for law enforcement agencies to effectively tackle the growing and evolving threat posed to European citizens, in particular from foreign fighters, it is necessary that they have a robust legal framework to access passenger data on intra-EEA routes."
Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.
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. Registered UK charity number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office: c/o MDR, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH, UK. © Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals "fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.