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EU police forces to see British passengers' personal information

Source:telegraph.co.uk
Author:Bruno Waterfield, Brussels
Date:05/02-2011

Britons flying anywhere in Europe will have sensitive personal information handed over to the police authorities in all 27 EU countries under a new air travel surveillance system.

Telephone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, email and other details of British air travellers will be available on demand for all of the EU’s police forces, including countries such as Bulgaria and Romania where corruption among law enforcement officials is widespread.

The system, billed on Wednesday as an anti-terrorism measure, will track all travellers and will also allow any EU police officer access to the data on suspicion of a serious crime, including offences that are not a crime in Britain.

Civil liberties campaigners fear the new EU surveillance system will make Britons more vulnerable to miscarriages of justice amid growing concern over EU policing measures and the lack of safeguards or judicial standards in some European countries.

MPs have also been angered that the government is actively negotiating, alongside France, to hand over the information without first informing the House of Commons, making a “charade” of ministerial promises not give up justice powers to the EU without parliamentary approval.

Guy Herbert, of the No2ID campaign group, said the measure was about “about greed for surveillance” not fighting terrorism.