Parliamentary question - E-9359/2010Parliamentary question

Flight data storage by the US Department of Homeland Security

Question for written answer E-9359/2010
to the Commission
Rule 117
Andreas Mölzer (NI)

Since 2006 the flight data expert Edward Hasbrouck has been suing his government in vain, under the US data protection law, asking to see his travel-related records. In a broadcast about his lawsuit, Edward Hasbrouck wrote that he was suing the government because it was important for the public to know that the Department of Homeland security had lied to the European Union. The assertions by the Department for Homeland Security that all requests for access to the stored passenger name records (PNRs) would be answered and that there had been no complaints in the USA about misuse of data were completely false, said the well-known travel journalist. According to him, people do not at present have clear information about what information is collected in PNRs. It very often includes IP addresses from online bookings. Practically all kinds of personal information, including telephone numbers of the traveller’s acquaintances, have been found in the extracts from PNR data, mostly heavily blacked out, that Hasbrouck has collected over many years’ work.

1. Does the Commission know whether the US Department of Homeland Security has access to data from flight reservation companies?

2. If so, how is this compatible with the European Data Protection Directives?

3. Where can those affected find information on their stored data?

4. Are there any plans for a new agreement between the EU and the USA on flight passenger data?

5. What does the Commission have in mind?

6. How should and can the rights of EU citizens be safeguarded?

7. How should and can EU citizens demand their rights?

8. How should compliance with a guarantee on erasure of data on EU citizens be ensured?

9. Are negotiations on this matter already taking place?

OJ C 265 E, 09/09/2011