back to article UK will share passenger data with US in Euro deal

The UK has opted in to the EU passenger name record (PNR) agreement with the United States, Home Office minister Damien Green has confirmed. "The UK, in common with many other EU member states and third countries, places considerable value on the collection and analysis of PNR data (that data collected by carriers in the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sensitive Personal Data"

    Is that defined anywhere? I can understand the use of data identifying who travelled, when they travelled and where they travelled, and wouldn't object to that being shared. What other data do they need that can be classified as 'sensitive'?

    The agreements seem to be about ensuring that data that shouldn't have been shared in the first place is handled sensitively. How about keeping it simple: confine it to necessary data and remove the retention controls (that we know will be ignored anyway)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Sensitive Personal Data"

      I'm assuming it is the Data Protection Act definition of 'sensitive personal data' - i.e. information relating to mental/physical Health, Union membership, political allegance, sexual orientation/sex life, religion, ethnic/racial origin, commission (or alleged commission) of criminal offences.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: "Sensitive Personal Data"

        Those items seem to fit the bill, but I wouldn't have thought the PNR database would naturally contain those things (or at least most of them). It wouldn't surprise me to see criminal record info in the data, but the rest shouldn't normally be available. Or is it that I don't get out much anymore?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Sensitive Personal Data"

      PNR can also include things like the payment details you used to pay for the flight and pretty much anything else which you have to tell your travel agent or airline.

      See and

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: "Sensitive Personal Data"

        You or I may not regard our name, phone numbers and permanent address as sensitive. If you were being pursued by an unbalanced or outright homicidal ex-partner or stalker, you might feel very differently. Especially after s/he had obtained that information by accessing the USA copy of your PNR, and visited you with a gun / knife / bottle of acid.

        You might also find that if you were in that situation, it's highly probable that an intelligence agency's automated passenger record filtering system might decide that you were of greater interest than the average traveller. They don't know *why* you've changed your address three times in the past year, and your bank account five times, but they have noticed that you have done so.

  2. alain williams Silver badge


    * What data will be shared with the USA ?

    + Name, address, ... what else ?

    + Trips to/from the USA or trips elsewhere as well ?

    * What the USA can do with the data is restricted ... how can we be sure that they won't use it for other things and keep it for longer than agreed ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Questions

      From experience a PNR can contain every last detail that you input into a booking, including, but not limited to, your passport number, credit card details, home address, hotel address, phone numbers and nationality.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Questions

      Well if you can't trust the US intelligence agencies to behave with totally honesty and respect for personal liberty - who can you trust ?

  3. Number6


    Does the UK/EU receive the same data from the US regarding people flying east across the pond? Or is it another of those one-way things?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Reciprocity?

      Doubt it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reciprocity?

      Well, if the reason for this privacy violation is truly to catch scary terrorists, the US *certainly* needs to provide data on passengers. After all, where did the 9/11 guys live?

      Oh, sorry, did I state the obvious?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Any chance of a public compliance audit of the receiving US agency? No? Then forget about any promises in the agreement - that data will be there forever.

    I would be surprised if anyone expected anything else.

  5. Edwin

    Not getting it

    Aren't we already providing all this data via ESTA, which presumably has none of the restrictions lined in the PNR agreement?

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: Not getting it

      ESTA provides less data than the PNR, and doesn't tie you to a particular flight or itinerary. You can apply for an ESTA with no existing travel plans. The PNR will contain all information about your flight, including (more than likely) connecting flights, how you paid, seat allocation, frequent flyer information, and if you booked in a group, who you're travelling with, etc. If you've flown recently file a request with the airline under the DPA to release their records and you may be surprised about the level of detail in the PNR.

      If you booked a complete itinerary with the airline (e.g. BA Holidays) then the PNR may also hold hotel, car rentals, etc info. Which is one reason never to book package holidays as it collects more data about you in one place

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not getting it

        But seeing as both the ESTA (or visa) is linked to your passport number (mandatory) which is also on the PNR (mandatory) they all end up together anyway, just with less restrictions on the use of the ESTA submitted data.

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
          Big Brother

          Re: Not getting it

          Don't forget that on entering merkin land, the department of homeland security will also take your photograph and fingerprint you AND you will need, at least, a machine readable passport or the full blown e-passport with chip containing all your personal details.

          With all these security procedures I just don't know how a terrorist like Timothy McVeigh ever got into the country.

          1. dssf

            Re: Not getting it

            Passengers flying to South Korea also will will be fingerprinted and photographed, etc. SK is not the only (nor the last) country, and, as time passes, others most undoubtedly will join in.


            Kinda neat-looking/futuristic-looking tech...

            Other URLs about it:



            1. Drakkenson

              Re: Not getting it

              @ dssf

              The Japanese were doing the same, with very similar looking kit, in 2009, when I went there.

  6. g e

    So what does EU get as a quid pro quo from the USA?

    Oh yeah.

    Cock in arse.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They don't really want us to travel

    They'd prefer us aliens stayed at home.

    (papers bitte)

    1. Graham Marsden
      Big Brother

      Re: They don't really want us to travel

      As far as I'm concerned, they have their wish!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 years for your data, after which time...

    it stays there. Forever.

    And God have mercy upon you if you decide to visit the US again if, in the meantime, or ever in my lifetime, you go on a hiking trip to, say, the Baltoro Glacier, Pakistan (which, in all fairness, doesn't seem such an appealing destination now, as it was over ten years ago, when the "locals" were unlikely to put you in front of a a webcam and cut off your head as a token of their strong moral stand on Eastern v. Western values).

    Well, but then, database handling and processing might get, at some point, outsourced to Google and combined with your online habits, very useful. For both parties.

    nah, on second thoughts, this would never happen, never!

    1. Skoorb

      Re: 10 years for your data, after which time...

      Outsourced to Google? Well, it already is.

      ITA Software ( are a provider of airline management systems, including booking systems. Google owns them, though only a few airlines use ITA; most use something by Accenture, Sabre, Galileo, Worldspan or Amadeus.

      1. Shades

        Re: 10 years for your data, after which time...

        Galileo, now there's a name I haven't heard for a while! (I went out with a travel agent for 7 and a half years). It always used to amuse me that the (large) agency she worked for had a typical customer record front-end but for anything else (checking availability/booking) it was back off into Teletext style land.

  9. ACx

    Well, in the UK at least, we happily hand over our people to the US with no need for any evidence, suspicion is enough. So, why would any one be bothered about data?

    Games up, TBH. We are all American now.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "Games up, TBH. We are all American now."

      A suggestion that dates back to at least a play by George Bernard Shaw.

      Europe is not North America.

      When was the last time a doctor asked you for cash for your *appointment*?

      And if it was that would mean you could *vote* which given many representatives (Congress & Senate) see <50% *total* turnout of their constituents might come as quite a shock.

  10. JoshOvki


    I wonder if this will contain all tweets for the last 6 months too.

  11. Tony Paulazzo

    >They'd prefer us aliens stayed at home.<

    Here's one alien perfectly content to never go the US of A, and you know, with all this bending over and taking it, how come I can't get none? oh yea, I'm not a bully.

    DISCLAIMER: All the Americans I've ever met have been great individuals, and I'm sure 99% of them are much like us, but man their content gate keepers and lawmakers are asses - I thought Barrack Obama was really gonna change the world, but I suppose, on the positive side he's not gonna get assassinated, he's too freaking white.

  12. phlashbios
    Big Brother

    No change

    Does anyone seriously believe that this data isn't already exchanged ? Do people honestly believe that the security services have not been analysing and exchanging passenger data since at least the cold war ?

    All this is doing, is formalising what will have been going on behind closed doors for years.

  13. David 45

    UK government giving in, as usual.

    Another sell-out to the Yanks!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "we really like table scraps from the cousins..."

    "... for indeed, we'll happily sacrifice every traveler's privacy for a pat on the head."

    "Abusive relationship" doesn't begin to describe it.

  15. An0n C0w4rd

    Audit checks

    1) What rights does the UK/EU have to audit what the Yanks do with the data to make sure they don't flout the agreement with impunity, and 2) what are the repercussions if the Yanks DO flout the agreement?

    I'm betting:

    1) none

    2) none

    Which makes this treaty completely effin useless. A win for the Yanks data snarfing dogs (NSA, etc) and a loss for civil liberties elsewhere.

  16. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    US Master Plan

    1. Agree to what ever is needed to get data.

    2. Get Data.

    3. Bwahahahahaha.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone has to program it all .-)

    And that someone might just be me. Hence AC

    Sensitive personal data can also include such SSR - special service requirements as MOML - Moslem Meal.

    I can't write anymore, but you can guess what follows next..

    1. crowley

      Re: Someone has to program it all .-)

      Sometimes these forums are like an online, anonymised Bilderberg antidote :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone has to program it all .-)

      I know of at least one person (right upstanding citizen I'd vouch for in a heartbeat, etc. etc. etc.) who always ticks kosher and/or halal as food preference. Not religious in the least but doesn't eat pork as it causes them rashes and discomfort, and that's the easiest way to get it across.

      I notice them booking less flying vacations these days, though. Wonder why that'd be.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are the exceptions?

    Let me guess - politicians, extremely wealthy donors to politicians, lobbyists, CEOs

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: What are the exceptions?

      and the bin ladens. Didn't George G help some of them get home after 9/11?

  19. NoneSuch
    Thumb Down

    No matter how much info is shared, I still end up filling in endless forms on the aircraft. I love doing Customs / Homeland Security's paperwork for them.

  20. BoxedSet

    Silly old me, I thought there were only 52 states of America. I didn't realise it had been extended to include the entire planet...

  21. Keep Refrigerated

    Sounds legit...

    "Outlining the plans, Green said the agreement:

    restricts the purposes for which data can be processed to the prevention of and combating of terrorist offences and serious trans-national crime;"

    FFS why do they bother? Is there anyone outside of government who even believes this press release shit?

    It doesn't matter what you stamp "RESTRICTED" on if your definition of "terrorist" encompasses people who post asinine twitter updates, wear anti-government t-shirts, protest civil liberties, blog, infringe copyright or generally don't agree with anything the government says.

  22. John A Blackley

    Pardon me

    If I say I don't believe a word of it. First, it came out of the mouth of a politician so it has to be a lie. Second, I have no control or means of checking what actually happens to the data. Third, this constitutes just another data set that the government is collecting and, with the help of an outside agency (because, God knows, no government department has the ability) could quite simply compile into a database that allows prediction of actions and could be used as a pretext for intervention based on that prediction.

  23. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    Did you know that photo ID is now needed to travel within the UK?

    "Checking-in for the Ferry

    All passengers aged 16 years and over are required to be in possession of photographic ID at check-in. Examples of acceptable ID include: photo driving licence, passport, student ID card and concessionary cards."

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: WTFIGO?

      How do you prove a child is under or over 16?

      If you cannot prove that, then how do you enforce the requirement that children over 16 have photographic ID?

      The TSA has the same problem in the USA. Children under 16 are not required to produce ID, but there is no way to prove that ......

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: WTFIGO?

      Are you a politician Mystic Megabyte? Your ability to misrepresent information is quite impressive.

      Checking-in for the Ferry

      All passengers aged 16 years and over are required to be in possession of photographic ID at check-in. Examples of acceptable ID include: photo driving licence, passport, student ID card and concessionary cards.

      NorthLink operates a ticketless system with the key to your journey being the unique booking confirmation number. Please have this and your photo ID ready when checking-in.

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