MEPs had been expected to vote this week on a recommendation from the European Parliament's civil liberties committee to reject an EU passenger data retention system (Passenger Name Records or PNR), which was proposed by the EU Commission. However, the vote will now not take place after a majority of MEPs voted to refer the recommendation back to committee. Commenting on the decision, Green home affairs spokesperson Jan Philipp Albrecht stated:
"Referring the anticipated decision on the draft EU PNR system back to the civil liberties committee is a cynical act of chicanery. The committee voted to recommend the rejection of the PNR system, due to concerns about its disproportionate and far-reaching nature, and this recommendation should have been put to the vote this week. The EP's conservative draftsperson/rapporteur is trying to pull a fast one simply because the committee's recommendation did not suit his agenda.
"The concerns with the proposed system have not in any way diminished. If anything, with the latest revelations about US infringement of the privacy rights of European citizens, we should be even more cautious about establishing more data grabbing and profiling systems. Against this background, it is to be hoped that the committee delivers the same negative verdict on the EU PNR system and that the democratic process is allowed to run its course.
"The rules proposed by the EU Commission for storing the private data of air passengers would involve far-reaching data retention and profiling measures. There is no evidence to suggest this ever-creeping data grab would do anything to achieve the stated aim of ensuring greater security. Instead, it compromises EU citizens' privacy and civil liberties. The EP must reject the proposals."