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09.02.2011 Flugpassagierdaten: EU-Richtlinienentwurf kein Sicherheitsgewinn und voller Mängel

Passenger Name Records: EU proposal does not increase security and is full of shortcomings

Last week, the EU Commission has submitted a proposal for the retention of PNR data for all flights that end in the EU or start from here under the auspices of the Commissioner of Internal Affairs, Cecilia Malmström. The draft directive, however, contains serious shortcomings and uncertainties, as the Berlin-based "Aktion Freiheit statt Angst e.V." ("Action Freedom Not Fear") criticizes.

Due to the latest proposal on a new EU directive concerning the storage of airline passenger data on flights starting within or going outside the EU1,2 Ricardo Cristof Remmert-Fontes of the "Aktion Freiheit statt Angst e.V." declares: "It is good that the German press somewhat touched on the topic. At the introduction of the EU-policy concerning the data retention this was different back then. Therefore there is hope that this new fatal EU legislation will be stopped just in time. However the possible dangers of this new EU-policy haven't been brought to the surface yet."

At first the "Aktion Freiheit statt Angst e.V." criticizes that there is no adequate justification for this new EU-directive of being necessary. The reference towards the Europol-paper3 against the dangers of terrorism still doesn't really explain how the threat of terrorism is linked to the need of this new policy. As the general statistics show, most cases of terror can be traced back of being actions carried out by separatist European movements like the Basque, the Irish and the Corsican. The threat of "international terrorism", usually equated with "Islamist extremism", plays a minor role4. Therefore it is doubtful how information about these liberation movements of the EU is to be gained by storing the data of airline passengers.

Basically the new policy gives permission to a preventive and "proactive" insight into airline passenger data. Furthermore it is still unclear with which data banks the collected information from airline passengers is going to be compared in the particular EU-states. There are just vague "test criteria" mentioned for identification of "unknown suspects".

"In consequence this new EU-policy can cause a permanent, EU-wide and groundless dragnet investigation. This shall not become reality!", claims Remmert Fontes and adds: "From our experiences with dragnet investigations in the 1970s and in 2001 we know that this kind of investigation seldom works."

For example in 2001 by dragnet investigation one searched for male students with Muslim beliefs and studying in the field of engineering. It can be easily understood that this investigation was brought to an end soon without any useful results5,6.

Without any specific test criteria and any rational comparison with information from databanks the airline passenger data has no validity at all.

Indeed the proposal contains a carte blanche for unspecified data. Under section 12 of the appendix on the proposal the data is "General Information", where as an example, but not as an exclusive criterion (!), information on unaccompanied minors. However, this point is not restricted, so it remains unclear whether this is an example or only data to be stored to minors: the data here are "in general" could be stored, remains open7.

"The suspicion arouses that these missing specific test criteria and the missing options for comparing are done on purpose in order to allow maneuvering room for state agents and surveillance apologists," fears Nannette Roske of "Aktion Freiheit statt Angst e.V.", "We suggest to abandon personal food wishes like 'halal' or 'kosha' and eat properly before take-off."

In all mass data comparisons and statistical methods to assess a risk, there is another aspect: false suspicions. The more data are gathered and linked, the more people wrongly appear in the crosshairs, while the chance for the real criminals rises to escape the grid. The U.S. security expert Bruce Schneier has calculated through this impressive example on the U.S. No-fly list8,9.

In general a target orientated, non-automatic action in an individual case and the use of skilled personnel instead of computers is according to "Freiheit statt Angst e.V." more promising. The tasks of professionals can't be replaced by any technique, even if the promises of rationalization are tempting.

Further critique:

* The EU policy doesn't contain any deadlines for deleting the data at the airlines. They have to gather and store the passenger's data in the first place.
* The heads of the particular PNR-central departments are even allowed to erase deadlines completely and they can decide which administration gets which kind of access. A requirement of judical authority is not scheduled.
* Furthermore the EU wants to establish "Mirror databases" but there are no clear deadlines set neither for collecting data nor for the time of saving it.
* The directive refers aud the definition of "serious crimes" to the criminal offenses of the EU Directive on European Warrant[10], which however is much broader, than for example the German definition and includes crimes, which are punishable with a minimum "maximum sentence" of 3 years.

In conclusion the "Aktion Freiheit statt Angst e.V." realizes that the new measurements are just another component towards more surveillance and give further uncontrollable powers to the security authorities. Furthermore the members of the alliance think that this new-policy won't actually increase safety levels within the EU which are already incredibly high anyway.

"We asked ourselves how much more surveillance; spying and decline of democracy the citizens of the European Union will tolerate until they stand up like the people in the former GDR or in Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen. Sooner or later this safety mania of the states will be too much to tolerate, because such monitoring states are not democratic anymore.", sums up Dr. Rainer Hammerschmidt, with regard to latest statements from the EU about gathering airline passenger data even for flights within the EU and collecting further travel data for example from traveling by bus or train in the future.

Category[18]: Pressemitteilungen Short-Link to this page:
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Link with Tor: nnksciarbrfsg3ud.onion/de/articles/1876-20110209-flugpassagierdaten-eu-richtlinienentwurf-kein-sicherheitsgewinn-und-voller-maengel.htm
Tags: #Fluggastdaten #Flugpassagierdaten #PNR #PassengernameRecords #EU #EU-Richtlinie #Richtlinienentwurf #CecilaMalmstroem #EU-Kommission #EuropaeischeUnion #Ueberwachung #Vorratsdatenspeicherung #Vorratsdaten
Created: 2011-02-09 11:33:23
Hits: 9476

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