11th July 2012: Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) at the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday on A Proposed Agreement between the European Union and Canada on the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR)*.
"With reference to Ms Sophie in 't Veld remarks (about data being transferred before the conclusion of the agreement), I should have thought that transfer of data should follow an agreement and not precede it. However, perhaps I'm old-fashioned.
"I presume that the agreement envisages bulk transfer and then selective extraction under the supervision of an EU representative, which raises the question of who that representative will be.
"I should like to know more about the criteria for extraction of data and whether that will be restricted to:
- cases of suspected terrorism, which I would define as violence for a political objective; and
- serious crime, which I would define as involving violence or drug dealing or child abuse or large scale economic crime.
"The definitions would not be extended to political opinion or the expression of that opinion.
"A former constituent in my Yorkshire & the Humber constituency is resident in Canada and is married to a Canadian citizen. It has never been suggested that she had any terrorist links or that she had ever been involved in crime, serious or otherwise. However, she has attracted the attention of the Canadian security services because of her expression of her political opinions when she was resident in the United Kingdom."
* This is for the purpose of alerting the country to which people are flying to the identity of the passengers together with other information such as method of payment. It is supposedly to combat terrorism and serious crime.