Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Senate warns against misuse of air passengers' personal data

28 January 2011

Prague, Jan 27 (CTK) - The Czech Senate recommends to create a system of guarantees to prevent the transfer of data on air passengers to the countries outside the EU without the member state's consent, senators agreed during their debate on the EC's respective statement.

Czech senators also demand that all possible EU agreements with other countries on the transfer of these data be approved by national parliaments.

Senators yesterday debated the European Commission's statement on the global access to the transfer of data from the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) to third countries.

These data are collected mainly over the threat of terrorism and international crime.

Data in the PNR system are gathered by air hauliers for the reservation and check-in purposes.

They contain the date of the trip, contact data, such as addresses and phone numbers, data on the travel agency, payment, luggage and the seat number.

Over 30 items are required, including data on eating habits, senator Tomas Toepfer (ODS) recalled.

This is why Czech senators want an adequate volume of data needed for the anti-terrorist fight to be set.

The Senate commission for privacy protection is convinced that the extent of the collected data is excessive.

Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil (ODS) said such data should not be collected at all.

However, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg noted that if the Czech Republic did not accept these agreements, Czech airlines might be allowed to fly only between Prague and Moscow.

The Senate commission wants strong guarantees for data protection and humans rights observance.

Schwarzenberg, on his part, told senators that the member states had given the EC a very strict mandate in this respect, including the condition to store the data for a limited time only.

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