The European Parliament is set to give its verdict on a proposed EU-US agreement on the retention of the private data of airline passengers (passenger name records or PNR). The EP draftsperson/rapporteur today presented a draft report recommending rejection of the agreement (1). The Greens support the call for rejecting the agreement, as there are real concerns that it runs counter to EU data protection rules and would undermine the fundamental rights of EU citizens. Speaking in favour of the proposed rejection, Green home affairs expert Jan Philipp Albrecht said:
"There are real concerns with the EU-US PNR agreement and the EU Parliament has a duty to reject any international deal that undermines the rights of European citizens. We therefore welcome the proposal by the EP rapporteur for the parliament to withhold its consent and send the Commission back to the drawing board. The EP has withheld its consent on previous versions of the PNR agreement and there are no substantial improvements in the current proposal that would address the concerns previously raised by the EP. Against this background, there seems little alternative but to give the agreement the red card and we hope the EP as a whole will support the proposed rejection.
"The agreement fails to address the fundamental rights concerns repeatedly raised by the European Parliament and various European courts. Particular concerns relate to its far-reaching provisions on mass storage of private data for extended periods by US authorities: passenger data will be stored for up to 15 years with insufficient provisions to protect against the odious practice of profiling. This flies in the face of court rulings across Europe and is at odds with EU data protection rules."
(1) The agreement was approved by the Council in December but the European Parliament must consent to the proposed EU-US PNR agreement in order for it to be ratified and come into force. The EP draftsperson/rapporteur Sophie In 't Veld today presented a draft position recommending the EP withhold its consent. The report will first be voted in the EP civil liberties committee before the EP as whole votes on the report in plenary.