PNR data transfer: Germany threatens trouble from Brussels

EU Commission building in Brussels (Photo: Pixabay).
EU Commission building in Brussels (Photo: Pixabay).

PNR data transfer: Germany threatens trouble from Brussels

EU Commission building in Brussels (Photo: Pixabay).
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Why do you currently have to fill out forms when entering many countries? Air travelers ask themselves this question quite often, because due to the Passenger Data Ordinance, the authorities have access to an extremely extensive and controversial data collection anyway. But data protection, of all things, is an obstacle here and is now even causing trouble for Germany from Brussels.

The so-called PNR database was created to facilitate the prosecution of cross-border criminal offenses. Actually, only the executive authorities should have access to these, and since the corresponding EU regulation was and is massively controversial anyway, it was repeatedly asserted that no one else was allowed to access the data collection. Germany is now using the data sets stored in the PNRs and forwards them to regional health authorities. This practice is sharply criticized by the EU Commission.

The regulation simply does not provide that information from the passenger name record database may be passed on to the local health authorities. For this reason, most EU countries have forms filled out or even an online pre-registration carried out. Germany also relies on paperwork, but so far nobody has checked it on the spot. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer now wants to change that and urge the Federal Police to check the accuracy of the data on the forms.

However, opposition politicians, the EU Commission and data protection officials see the transfer of PNR data to the health authorities, which are usually located in the district offices and / or town halls, extremely critically. In extreme cases, the Federal Republic of Germany could even face expensive infringement proceedings. The legal basis for the current practice is completely absent. It cannot be ruled out that private individuals could even assert violations of the General Data Protection Regulation

The EU Commission declares that the member states have been expressly advised that the data in the PNR database may only be used to combat terrorism or serious crimes. The disclosure to health authorities is not legally covered and could result in infringement proceedings. Germany went it alone nationally and adapted national law accordingly so that data can be passed on to the health authorities on a large scale. However, the national law contradicts the EU regulation, which could have consequences. Brussels insists that the PNR data must not be made available to the health authorities.

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Editor of this article:

Jan Gruber is Senior Editor at Aviation.Direct. Before that, he had held the same position at AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net) since 2012. He specializes in low-cost carriers, regional aviation in the DA-CH region and in-depth research.

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About the editor

Jan Gruber is Senior Editor at Aviation.Direct. Before that, he had held the same position at AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net) since 2012. He specializes in low-cost carriers, regional aviation in the DA-CH region and in-depth research.

Nobody likes paywalls
- not even Aviation.Direct!

Information should be free for everyone, but good journalism costs a lot of money.

If you enjoyed this article, you can check Aviation.Direct voluntary for a cup of coffee Coffee trail (for them it's free to use).

In doing so, you support the journalistic work of our independent specialist portal for aviation, travel and tourism with a focus on the DA-CH region voluntarily without a paywall requirement.

If you did not like the article, we look forward to your constructive criticism and / or your suggestions for improvement, either directly to the editor or to the team at with this link or alternatively via the comments.

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