Justice Secretary pushes for EU Passenger Name Records

Passenger Name Records, which are already used in connection with flights between Europe and America, allow authorities to collect information including name, passport number, home address, mobile phone number, credit card information and travel itinerary.  At the moment the United Kingdom is the only country in Europe to collect and analyse information on passengers through its e-Borders Scheme, which was launched under the old Labour Government.

Ken Clarke, the Secretary of State for Justice, told the British Chamber of Commerce in Brussels that \”The UK agrees with the large majority of other member states who think that it makes no sense to collect passenger name records information on flights to and from third countries without also collecting the same information on flights between EU members states. We cannot provide the protection we all wish to see without working with our non-EU partners, given the threats we face are global in nature. We should continue to engage closely with the United States on passenger name records and data protection – it is crucial to improving US and EU security.\”

However the Labour Member of the European Parliament for London, Claude Moraes, said that \”There is no justification for a 15-year retention period of people\’s personal details. It is also wrong that we should adopt the position that because it is for anti-terrorist purposes, we can\’t question whether it is a proportionate response.\”

Recently the Immigration Minister, Damian Green, explained how the eBorders Scheme and the National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC) are helping to improve security. He said recently that \’Checking people coming to the UK is vital in helping secure the border by targeting known criminals, terror suspects and illegal migrants while gathering evidence against smugglers and people traffickers. Traveller information has enabled the e-Borders to help keep our country safe with more than 8,400 criminals, including rapists and murderers, intercepted since it was established. When the new National Crime Agency goes live from 2013 the Manchester based NBTC will be central to helping the UK Border Agency play its part. The city can be justly proud of its role at the forefront of the hi-tech fight to make the country\’s border even more secure.’

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