On 14th April, the European Parliament approved the new directive on Passenger Name Records (PNR), which regulates their use throughout the EU to ensure prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crimes. Approved by 461 votes to 179, with 9 abstentions, the directive is seen as a big step in the fight against human trafficking and international terrorism.
According to the Directive, Member States will have to set up “Passenger Information Units” (PIUs), which will be tasked with collecting, storing and processing PNR data, as well as transmitting the data to relevant authorities. The information collected in PIUs will have to be retained in the system for five years. However, any information related to an individual’s identity will be deleted after six months.
The processing of data related to an individual’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexual life or sexual orientation is banned in the Directive.
The scope of the Directive currently concerns only flights coming from outside the EU or going from the EU to countries outside the Union. However, Member States will be able to extend the scope to cover flights within the EU.
The Directive, after having been adopted by the European Parliament, now needs to be approved by the Council. Then, once published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have two years to transpose the directive into their national legislation.
The European Parliament press release is available here.