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EU-PNR : Clear infringement on the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection of all citizens

Yesterday the Civil Liberties committee in the European Parliament voted in support of the infamous EU-PNR proposal which makes it obligatory for Member States to collect the personal data including, for example, addresses and food preferences, of all passengers flying into, out of or through EU territory.

Speaking after the vote German MEP Cornelia Ernst said, “I am incredibly disappointed that this report passed, and shocked at the heavy lobbying tactics that various governments undertook to ensure support from the EPP, ECR and some Liberals and Social-democrats. Our Group has opposed this measure from its very inception. It has not been proven such far-reaching, bulk data-collection measures are necessary, or even proportionate in order to reach the stated objectives. What we do know for sure is that they are a clear infringement on the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection for all citizens.

She continued, stating “I am also shocked that this report proceeded to the vote despite our demand to stop the negotiations of this file until we heard back from the European Court of Justice on the compatibility of the EU-Canada PNR agreement with the fundamental rights charter. Despite initial rejections and court rulings, the Commission never withdrew this proposal, even going as far to use the tragic Charlie Hebdo events in Paris as a means to enhance pressure for this proposal.”

“It should be stressed that this new system and its indiscriminate collection of all data is much farther reaching than what is practised today by either the UK or the US, where only data relating to certain flight routes is collected. It is precisely this targeted approach that has been rejected in yesterday's vote. I have said it before and I will say it again, what we need is cooperation and clarity between intelligence agencies, we do not need enhanced powers, we do not need vast amounts of extra data. We need to ensure the quality of the data that exists, and ensure its communication.”

“Yesterday's vote was vote against fundamental rights, and a vote for fear and populism. The GUE/NGL will continue to oppose this report and attempt to reject it when it comes before the whole Parliament in the plenary.