EU lawmakers reject mining of air passenger data (Update)

April 24, 2013

EU lawmakers on Wednesday rejected plans to allow European air passenger data to be used to fight against organised crime and terrorism, the European Parliament said.

A proposal by the European Union executive following extensive negotiations going back years with mainly US authorities "was rejected by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs Wednesday, by 30 votes to 25," a Parliament statement said.

Air carriers collect Passenger Name Record (PNR) data during reservation and check-in procedures for flights entering or leaving the EU. This also includes address, phone number and credit card details.

The European Commission proposed in February 2011 that air carriers be obliged to provide EU member states with the data of passengers entering or leaving the EU, "for use in preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting serious crime and terrorist offences".

The MEP charged with leading scrutiny of the proposed legislation, English Conservative Timothy Kirkhope, had focused on consequences for EU counter-terrorism policy and asked that the matter be referred to the full spectrum of lawmakers.

The United States, Canada and Australia already require carriers to provide PNR records for use in crime and terror probes.

Leaders of political groupings left and right in the EU legislature will now discuss what happens next.

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