Chris Jones

Journalist, researcher, editor and occasional translator based in London.

UN Security Council mandates worldwide air travel surveillance and profiling, biometric collection, terrorist watchlists

"In the name of "preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offenses and related travel," all UN Member States must develop systems for processing and analysing Passenger Name Record (PNR), Advance Passenger Information (API) and "fingerprints, photographs, facial recognition, and other relevant identifying biometric data", according to a UN Security Council resolution (no. 2396) agreed on 21 December 2017."

PNR for all: UN Security Council mandates worldwide air travel surveillance and profiling, biometric collection, terrorist watchlists (Statewatch, 8 January 2018)

This report is a straightforward write-up of a UN Security Council Resolution, but it's notable because the Resolution received absolutely zero coverage elsewhere. This is despite it having far-reaching implications - it calls for the national introduction of pre-emptive law enforcement profiling and watchlists of all air travellers through the use of Advance Passenger Information (API, taken from passports) and Passenger Name Record data (PNR, taken from travel bookings).

The introduction of EU-wide rules on the use of PNR data by law enforcement agencies led to a long, drawn-out process in the EU institutions, because a majority in the European Parliament - rightly - opposed the introduction of a mandatory profiling system for all air travellers. Eventually, however, opposition to the scheme was broken down and the PNR Directive was agreed in April 2016.

Photo: Poowlyne, CC BY-ND 2.0

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