Could more be done by airlines to stop terrorists around the world? Our government thinks so. The United States is in the process of trying to expand the ways agencies around the world collect the records of airline passengers.
Exactly how will expanded record collection take place?
The United States would like to put a new global aviation standard in place. However, getting the whole world to collaborate could be difficult.
The first big roadblock that a new global aviation standard is facing is the fact that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) doesn’t actually have the ability to impose rules on the 192 governments around the world that it counts as members. What the body can do is issue standards for safety and security.
Domestic legislation is then required to make those standards part of the law. The United States would like a new standard to be in place by some point in 2019. However, the ICAO almost always takes years to develop new standards. That means that it is pretty unlikely that any big changes are going to happen within the next 12 months.
Another big hurdle that a new standard is facing is resistance from European governments. Any standard that requires government agencies to share the names, itineraries and travel dates of members of the public is going to be met with criticism from privacy advocates.
Authorities at Mobility and Transport for the European Commission have already told the press that any new ICAO standards would be rejected unless they were in full compliance with existing data-protection rules in Europe.
The fact that the United States is essentially asking other governments to expand the ways that they collect passenger records means that the new standard is probably not going to sit well with many governments around the world. The United States is prepared to help countries with any monetary or technical considerations that must be addressed in order to successfully collect the records of passengers.
The United States has been collecting and sharing the personal information of passengers since the 1990s. Current rules require airlines to share data regarding bookings before a flight’s departure. This information is shared with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other agencies. Officials in the United States claim that sharing data has helped to prevent militants from entering the country and made it possible for law enforcement to break up child-smuggling rings.