Judges rule that EU countries are no longer allowed to collect passengers’ personal data

Airlines are no longer required to share passenger data with European Union countries, at least for flights within member states, the EU Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled that the obligation for airlines to provide passenger data to national authorities does not respect the right to privacy, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.

The decision on the Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive represents an unpleasant outcome for privacy campaigners, who have been protesting for years against the framework put in place after the 9/11 attacks and those who followed the Spanish capitals and British.

“Given the impact of the EU PNR Directive on fundamental rights – as confirmed by the court – the law should have been struck down”, Estelle Massé, privacy officer for digital rights NGO Access Now, said.

According to Politico, the decision said member states could only impose data transfers for internal travel within Europe where there was a real threat of terrorist attacks.

The judges further noted that the PNR Directive resulted in undeniably serious interference with EU privacy and data protection rights, but did not completely overrule the regulation.

“The Court concludes that the transfer, processing and storage of PNR data provided for by this directive can be considered to be limited to what is strictly necessary for the purposes of the fight against terrorist offenses and serious forms of crime, provided that that the powers provided for by this directive are interpreted in a restrictive manner”, the press release regarding the decision reads.

However, the judges left the door open for countries to interpret the established criteria and pursue the airlines’ obligation. For example, France has already legalized other surveillance measures suggesting that its terrorist threat is almost constant.

Previously, the Swiss Federal Council opened the consultation process for the air passenger data law, as the use of air passenger data is an important tool to fight terrorism and other crimes in more than 60 countries. .

About 62 countries around the world, including countries in the European Union, have established offices that assess this passenger information so they can fight crime and terrorism.

Passenger Name Record (PNR) data is used to identify terrorists or people involved in illicit business. This allows police officers to obtain detailed information on passenger movements and also to identify patterns for police investigation.

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