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Parliament gives green light to agreement on passenger data

19 April 2012

EP Plenary, April 2012. Photo: European Parliament

The European Parliament has approved a new agreement on the transfer of air passengers' data for flights from the EU to the US. The Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement was adopted with 409 votes in favour, 226 against and 33 abstentions. The agreement contains stronger rules on police and law enforcement cooperation, as well as rules on how long PNR data may be stored, along with detailed descriptions of the purposes for which the data may be used. In a comment, Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said:
"I welcome today's vote of the European Parliament giving its consent to the new Passenger Name Record Agreement with the United States of America. This is an agreement the three EU institutions can be proud of: it provides stronger protection of EU citizens' right to privacy and more legal certainty for air carriers than the existing EU-U.S. PNR Agreement from 2007."

She added: "At the same time, it fully meets the security needs of the United States of America and the EU. Under the new agreement, data of passengers travelling to the United States of America will be used to fight serious transnational crime and terrorism. It will be made anonymous six months after a passengers' flight. EU citizens will be informed about the use of their data, and will be able to access and request the correction or deletion of their PNR data. The new agreement is a substantial improvement on the existing Agreement from 2007, and I am pleased that the European Parliament has recognised this today."

PNR data is information provided by passengers, and collected by air carriers for their own commercial purposes.

Read more about the EU-U.S. PNR agreement here. Cecilia Malmström's statement can be found here, as well as more questions and answers about the agreement. The European Parliament has more information on today's vote.