SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Airlines are now required to share their passenger data of all flights arriving in and departing from the Netherlands with a newly established passenger information unit (Pi-NL).
This unit will provide greater insight into travel movements. It should contribute to preventing, detecting and prosecuting serious crime and terrorism. The legislative proposal following from European agreements that Dutch Minister Grapperhaus submitted to the Dutch Senate was adopted in June.
Pi-NL will process the data and share them with authorised bodies such as the police if necessary. This unit, which is part of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, falls under the responsibility of the Minister of Justice and Security.
In drafting the legislative proposal, Minister Grapperhaus carefully weighed the importance of combating terrorism against the privacy interests of passengers. The bill therefore contains a number of guarantees. For example, there is a restriction on how long the data can be kept for; no special personal data, such as religion or ethnic origin, may be processed; and the sharing of data with other countries is subject to stringent conditions. An official especially appointed to this end will supervise compliance with the legal rules. The Dutch DPA will also provide independent supervision.
The Dutch Minister Grapperhaus said: 'If we know more about where and when criminals and terrorists are travelling, we will be able to catch them more quickly. Before submitting this bill, I weighed up the security and privacy concerns carefully. In my view, the Netherlands should get moving on this as quickly as possible, not only because I am convinced that it will make our country more secure, but also because I am convinced that we will handle these data with care and that they will only be used for the purpose for which they are intended: preventing and detecting terrorism and serious crime.'