Yorkshire MEP gets backing over anti-terror data rules

A YORKSHIRE EURO-MP’s efforts to create a system that allows airline passenger information to be used to fight terrorism and organised crime have taken a major step forward.

Timothy Kirkhope

Fellow members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs have backed proposals set out by Yorkshire MEP Timothy Kirkhope.

The committee had previously opposed the measure but its support for revised proposals opens the way for discussions with national governments to begin over how it is put into action with the full parliament likely to vote on the matter before the end of the year.

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The latest proposal has been changed to meet the concerns of MEPs over the amount of time agencies could access the information and the range of potential offences covered by the rules.

Police and security services say the information, known as passenger name record (PNR) data, can help identify patterns of behaviour associated with terrorism and organised crime.

Mr Kirkhope said: “Without this EU system in place a number of EU governments will go it alone and create their own systems. That would leave gaps in the net and create a patchwork approach to data protection. With one EU-wide system we can close the net and ensure high standards of data protection and proportionality are applied right across Europe.

“The emerging threat posed by so-called ‘foreign fighters’ has made this system even more essential. PNR will make it much harder for trained radicalised fighters to get back into Europe, at least through our airports.

“PNR is not a silver bullet but it can be an invaluable weapon in the armoury.”