“Passenger Name Record is an expensive, unnecessary violation of civil liberties” – Anderson

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has expressed disappointment and concern at the passing of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal during the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) in the European Parliament today.

Speaking after the vote, Ms Anderson said,

“PNR is an expensive and unnecessary violation of basic civil liberties and its passing in the LIBE committee is one further step towards its implementation.

“PNR is the mass collection and sharing of personal information of airline passengers by security agencies in the European Union and beyond. 

“Under new proposals PNR will stretch to both flights in to and out of the EU as well as flights between EU member states.

“Is it really relevant to store not only the name and all passengers travel data but also their date of birth, nationality and any other “general remarks” such as seat preference, and food orders, indicated at the time of booking?

“Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) considered in its judgment in the Roman Zakharov v. Russia case that “the automatic storage for six months of clearly irrelevant data cannot be considered justified under Article 8” of the European Convention of Human Rights. 

“Yet this is precisely what current PNR proposals suggest.” 

MEP for the six counties, Ms Anderson continues,

“Under the PNR, the data is stored six months, then names are encrypted, not deleted, and are stored for four and a half years more, during which the names can be easily attained.

“This is far from the six months that the ECHR already challenged. These few examples are already sufficient to show the serious violations of the fundamental rights entailed by the PNR.

“PNR is an absolute violation of the fundamental rights of citizens of the entire world and I find it an added insult that the text was voted through the LIBE committee on the International Day of Human Rights.

“PNR is currently subject to a pending case in the European Court of Justice in relation to its fundamental rights compatibility. We in Sinn Féin find it deeply regrettable that that the LIBE committee and the European Council, including the Irish Government, continue to cheerlead for this initiative.

“I wholly opposed the text during the meeting, in defence of the fundamental rights of millions of people in the fight against terrorism and I will reiterate my views when it comes in front of the European Parliament plenary session next year.” ENDS