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Brussels, 06 November 2007
Proposal for a COUNCIL FRAMEWORK DECISION on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) for law enforcement purposes
Terrorist and organised criminals are mobile and increasingly more so. They travel abroad to plan and execute their sinister activities. They fly into and out of the EU using commercial flights. It is important that law enforcement authorities are equipped with the best possible tools to investigate, prevent and disrupt both terrorist and organised crime networks. PNR offer one of those useful tools.
The purpose of this proposal is to have air carriers make PNR information available to law enforcement authorities in the EU Member States and help them in the prevention and fight against terrorist offences and organised crime.
The proposal provides that air carriers make available 19 PNR data elements of their passengers to the Member States. Such data must be made available only for flights to and from the EU (excluding intra-EU or domestic flights). EU carriers will be required to "push" or transmit the data to the Member States authorities. Air carriers will not be required to collect or retain any data further to those already collected for commercial purposes.
The recipient of the data in the Member States will be a Passenger Information Unit (PIU) to be designated in each Member State. Such PIU will have the aim of carrying out a risk assessment of the passengers and identify people who will be subjected to further enquiries upon their arrival/departure from the Member State. PIU's will share the results of such assessments with other PIU's where necessary and retain the data for 5 years in an active database and for 8 years in a dormant database.
The soon-to-be-adopted Framework Decision on Data Protection in criminal matters will govern all data processing under the proposal, as well as the transfers of data to third countries. No sensitive data will be used and there will be no enforcement action taken solely on the basis of the automatic processing of PNR.
Air carriers already have an obligation to communicate Advance Passenger Information (API) to the competent authorities of the Member States, under Council Directive 2004/82/EC, which are used for fighting illegal immigration. The added value of PNR is that it helps identify unknown people and develop risk indicators.
Some Member States have already enacted primary legislation for the use of PNR data, and are stating to use the system. Once the EU framework is adopted and operational, it will provide all Member States and air carriers with a single and coherent legal environment in this field.