back to article Europe a step closer to keeping records on all passengers flying in and out of the Continent

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee LIBE voted on Wednesday in favor of collecting and storing information about all air passengers traveling into or out of the EU. The so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) scheme requires the storage of all data collected by airlines about passengers – including sensitive and …

  1. Christoph Silver badge

    Why could they possibly want to store meal choices, unless it is being used as a proxy for religion?

    Presumably they know they will be deluged in a shitstorm if they come straight out and admit they want to record everybody's religion and politics, so they are getting as close to it as they can.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It is a proxy. Possibly even a better indicator then asking for religious preference as only the true believers would order a specific meal type.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dieters and vegans, etc

        We need to keep a look out for these degenerates!

      2. Bloakey1

        "It is a proxy. Possibly even a better indicator then asking for religious preference as only the true believers would order a specific meal type."

        Agreed but I like to subvert it. I often order halal, kosher or vegetarian meals as they tend to be better and fresher.

        People need to be aware of all the tracking and collation of data that goes into air travel and most European travel is surrendered to the US as a matter of course.

        Hmmmmm, I am starting to sound a bit paranoid.

      3. LucreLout Silver badge

        Possibly even a better indicator then asking for religious preference as only the true believers would order a specific meal type.

        Right up until some true believer realises that if they're blowing up the plane they can skip lunch, and so orders the beer battered onion rings & pulled pork, to throw authorities off the trail.

        Given the purpose of any proxy would likely be identifying muslims, and they practice fasting every year, I'm pretty sure they could manage a flight without eating, thus making food a very poor proxy for that religion. So while I don't have any good idea why they want to collect that info, other than "because we can", I don't buy the religious proxy argument.

    2. DrM

      The meal choice is so that if the plane crashes and kills everyone, they will know how you want to be buried.

    3. xerocred

      I had the chicken with rice

      I guess I'm not an animal rights activist.

    4. Laura Kerr

      It's a safety feature

      If a trrrist does manage to take out the pilots, the cabin crew will need to know if there's anyone on board who didn't have fish for dinner.

  2. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "it would harmonize national rules"

    Translation: Drag our freedoms down to the lowest common denominator.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: "it would harmonize national rules"

      People still don't get it. The EU Charter spells out that it is aiming for "ever closer union." It aims to become the single government for Europe. In that context, "harmonisation" is the goal in itself, it doesn't matter what the content of the law is.

      Of course it will fail. European countries stick together like iron and clay, but that doesn't mean it won't do a whole stack of damage in its attempt to rebuild the Roman or Holy Roman Empires.

      And what happens in Greece? An EU directive you say? Well, I'm sorry, but austerity measures mean we have no money to spend on fancy but pointless IT projects.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: "it would harmonize national rules"


        "And what happens in Greece? An EU directive you say? Well, I'm sorry, but austerity measures mean we have no money to spend on fancy but pointless IT projects."

        Greece you say? Well we will analyse your credit history and then we will lend you some money at a usurious rate that you can't possibly afford to pay back. Once you have that money we will get it back off you in the form of payment for the new shiny security system. Ahh and we will also be looking at late payment penalties and possibly extending the aformentioned loan at further usurious rates when you start to realise you can't afford it.

        A bit like credit cards in the eighties and now come to think of it. Where I live the large food oulets do not take credit cards, they take cash or switch so you buy what you need rather than what whimsy dictates.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a huge confusion between policing level security risks and existential security risks. The result is a massive amount of tilting at windmills. The 2 issues need to be kept separate and the second one is the one you need to have a response for, despite hysteria whipped up by the media regarding the first. In this way the media is doing a great disservice and causing Don Quixote diversions of resources.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Handy if arrested

    No more filling out meal preferences in jail.

    You do get to chose, don't you?

  5. Chairo

    How about switching food orders randomly

    This time kosher, next halal, some vegetarian and perhaps a child meal or two.

    Just to mess up their database.

    1. xerocred

      Re: How about switching food orders randomly

      Their big data predictive analysis will have you figured out as a foodie in no time.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: How about switching food orders randomly

      I do that anyway, often I order a diabetic meal or low salt, very good usually!

      I would order kosher, but I like pork too much to miss out on my sausages for breakfast

  6. DrM



  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about human rights laws

    I wonder if I could use the human rights laws to avoid giving any information (right to privacy etc), and also to stop them from blocking me from travelling (right to travel inside and outside the EU).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What about human rights laws

      "right to travel inside and outside the EU"

      While you have that right, the method of travel is not defined. You could drive, cycle, walk, maybe even use a bus or a train, but if the airlines decide they must follow EU directives then they don't have to accept you as a passenger if you refuse to jump through their hoops.

      EDIT: Although now I come to think about it, state owned airlines might have to respect your rights more so than commercial ones. Are you up for the court case? :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What? That's outrageous!

    People eat airline food?

    Who knew?

  10. Far out man

    Get served first

    The vegan and vegetarian meals are usually served first from my experience, so you get a chance to eat what you paid for before the whole thing goes down.. maybe.

  11. robin maddison

    Wait till the Local Councils get access to the data, remember RIPA

    Planning Officer No 1 - "'Ere,this bloke appears to be building a large shed in his garden, wot's that all about?"

    Planning Officer no 2. " It's facing East. Illicit Mosque or Cathedral?

    Planning officer No 1 "I'll get onto the PNR,Simples"

  12. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Charlie Hebdo

    So this measure is to be implemented in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders, and a previous one in response to 7/7.

    Is there any evidence at all that the Charlie Hebdo attack could have been prevented by this sort of information gathering? The 7/7 bombers came from places like Leeds and travelled by train, so you'd need to record what kind of crisps they bought from the snack trolley.

  13. Ian Tunnacliffe

    They are getting meal choices because they are getting the whole PNR. Supplying a feed of PNRs is a lot easier than creating a report from them in which you could pick and choose the fields to supply. Meal choice is not a mandatory field. If you don't make a specific request you get the rubber chicken like everyone else. Or nothing at all on an increasing number of flights. No-one in Greece will have to do anything to comply because the Greek airlines' booking systems are run outside Greece (primarily in Germany as it happens).

  14. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Email address?

    Why bother collecting an email address? Just use a temporary one. Every single online transaction I make uses a temporary email address for that particular vendor and none whatsoever are linked to my normal email account. What's the point anyhow, is somebody out there going to be using a address?

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