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EU Rules in Favor of Passenger Data Collection, Airlines Required to Cooperate

New European Union rules require airlines to cooperate with law enforcement authorities, turning over passenger data for international flights entering or departing the Eurozone

All flyers heading in or out of the European Union will soon be subject to new laws which could be used to track their movements across the continent. Reuters report under the new regulation, airlines will be forced to turn over passenger lists to law enforcement agencies for flights departing to and from the European Union.

The new rules were passed on Wednesday, July 15, by the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament. Passenger data will ultimately be collected by law enforcement, including itineraries, seat numbers and payment information. The data would be kept active for 30 days after the flight, but could be held for a total of five years.

According to EU authorities, the new rules are aimed at tracking potential terrorists as they move in and out of Europe. Lawmakers were most concerned with those traveling through the continent to join militants in Iraq and Syria. In February, Turkish Airlines came under fire for allowing three minors to fly from London to Istanbul with the supposed goal of joining Syrian rebels.

Although the issue has been debated in Parliament for over two years, the rule changes were revisited in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack. “The emerging threat posed by so-called ‘foreign fighters’ has made this system even more essential,” said Timothy Kirkhope, a British Conservative MEP.

Although the law is passed, there is no clear timeline on when the data collecting will become official. According to Reuters, the EU will work to implement the law in each of their member states before final approval.

[Photo: iStock]

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