The EU’s passenger name record bill has been stuck in the European Parliament since 2013 after MEPs in the committee voted it down. The bill requires airlines to hand over to the police the personal details of anyone flying into the EU.
Civil liberty defenders question the mass surveillance aspect that underpins the bill, noting that the European Court of Justice last year ruled against data retention. But pressure to get it signed has intensified since the attack in Paris against Charlie Hebdo, with France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve now lobbying individual MEPs. On Wednesday (4 February), he arrived at the European Parliament in Brussels where he spoke to lead MEPs from the committee on reaching a compromise.
The intergroup on the Digital Agenda is an informal network of Members of European Parliament, cross-party and cross-nationality, who are interested in digital technologies and in how they can benefit society. “We recognise the profound impact that digital technologies have on the lives of people. We wish to take an active role in shaping that impact and smart policies by improving the knowledge of the functioning and impact of technologies,” says Schaake (ALDE). Weidenholzer (S&D) adds: “The Digital Single Market offers great opportunities. This intergroup will strive for policies that realise the potential while ensuring the privacy and data protection rights of European citizens.”
Eu Observer reports that MEP German Cornelia Ernst along with Dutch liberal Sophie In't Veld voted to suspend the so-called in-camera session on Safe Harbour. In-camera sessions are not open to the public. It also means MEPs are under threat of sanctions should they discuss the issue outside the room.
Safe Harbour is enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission and is supposed to ensure US firms follow EU data protection laws when processing the personal data of EU citizens. Last November, the former EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding published 13 recommendations that the Americans needed to implement in order to keep the agreement viable. The commission official, invited to update the MEPs on the negotiations, revealed that Washington has an issue with three of the 13 recommendations.
Marietje Schaake uploaded a series of videos on YouTube of a debate in the Parliament and then she received a notice that one of her videos was removed by YouTube because it was against "community guidelines".
Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan has initiated a Laboratory of Innovation for Public Policy, which aims to facilitate the exchange of experience among EU countries in terms of public policies that are more efficient and have lower costs. The laboratory, which is a pilot project, has been inaugurated by the European Commission this week.