Estonian Police to start collecting personal data of air passengers


On January 1, 2016, Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will start collecting booking information for all flights to and from Estonia.

“The main reason for collecting PNR data is to fight cross-border crime, because drug and human traffickers, smugglers and the rest all make use of the broadened opportunities for free movement,” PNR project leader Kristi Laul said. “The PNR system will have a direct effect on public safety and have a positive effect on state’s internal security and its ability to counter serious crimes.” The data will only be used to investigate terror threats and other serious crime. The database serves as a tool to find people who could pose a risk to public safety.

PNR, or Passenger Name Records, are, in essence, data about your flight details. Every time we travel by plane, either the airline or the travel agent needs a series of data to proceed with our reservation, including itinerary, contact details, forms of payment, accompanying guests, and sometimes food preferences.

Meanwhile, civil society groups, the European Parliament and the EU data protection watchdog, the European Data Protection Supervisor, have repeatedly highlighted the lack of evidence regarding the necessity and proportionality of this “massive and routine processing of data of non-suspicious passengers for law enforcement purposes.”


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