Govt defends plans to keep passenger data for 15 years

End of the database state? The govt will keep passenger details for 15 years.
End of the database state? The govt will keep passenger details for 15 years.

By Ian Dunt

The government has defended plans to keep the personal data of passengers flying between the US and UK for 15 years.

Despite coming to power with a pledge to destroy the database state and enhance people's protection from state intrusion, the government has pushed hard for comprehensive data collection from European and American passengers.

Theresa May led calls in Europe for passenger data, including credit cards details and information about travelling companions, to include those flying within the EU and for it to be kept for five years.

In a data protection speech in Brussels Mr Clarke defended that plan and the far more extensive US agreement.

"The UK agrees with the large majority of other member states who think that it makes no sense to collect passenger name records information on flights to and from third countries without also collecting the same information on flights between EU members states," he told the British Chamber of Commerce.

"We cannot provide the protection we all wish to see without working with our non-EU partners, given the threats we face are global in nature. We should continue to engage closely with the United States on passenger name records and data protection - it is crucial to improving US and EU security."

Claude Moraes, spokesman for the socialists and democrats group on civil liberties, warned the data would be used for purposes above and beyond counter-terrorism.

"There is no justification for a 15-year retention period of people's personal details," he said.

"It is also wrong that we should adopt the position that because it is for anti-terrorist purposes, we can't question whether it is a proportionate response."


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