How much privacy are you willing to give up in exchange for security?
Did you know that your travel data has been collected and maintained by the Department of Security and Justice for years? No. Then now you know! To detect terrorism and serious crime, passenger travel data is stored in a database. Whether it is a work trip to China or a weekend with your family to the sun, to book a flight the airline collects a large amount of passenger data. Contact and payment information, flight history, date of booking and baggage information are examples of these so-called PNR (Passenger Name Records) data.
The PNR law
Since June 18, 2019, airlines are required to provide PNR data to the Passenger Information Unit of the Netherlands (Pi-NL). This concerns the passenger data of every flight departing or arriving in the Netherlands. For the privacy interests of travelers, a PNR directive has been drafted. The Personal Data Authority (AP) monitors compliance independently.
Stop the processing!
The AP recently asked the Ministry of Justice and Security (JenV) to immediately bring the data into compliance with the PNR Directive. In a press release, the AP writes: “The processing of PNR data systematically collects, automates and stores a large amount of personal data of many people who do not belong to the group for which the database is actually intended.”
Of course, everyone will agree on the importance of fighting terrorism and serious crime. The only question is how far do you think the government should be allowed to go in this?
The Pi-NL is an independent unit with its own legal task and powers. The unit falls under the authority of the Minister of Justice and Security, but is housed within the Royal Military Police.