Passenger Name Records

Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): May I also support the Government’s decision to opt in to this directive? The Minister has dealt adequately with the two issues raised by the Home Affairs Committee when it considered the matter—privacy and cost—but will he confirm that the information being collected will not be shared outside the EU? It had been suggested that it might be given to other countries, such as the United States. Secondly, will he also assure us that now that the contracts have been issued under the e-Borders programme, which of course suffered an unfortunate delay under the previous Government, it will be fully operational by 2014, when he may still be the Immigration Minister?

Damian Green: The right hon. Gentleman always paints a happy prospect of life ahead. I am grateful for his support and on the data protection issues I can say that the British information will be dealt with by the British Government, so we will not see the random international sharing of information that he suggests—I agree that that would be bad for data protection issues. On the e-Borders system, we are indeed proceeding with letting the new contracts. We already have more than 90% of routes outside the EU covered by e-Borders and we hope that within the next 12 months that coverage will be more or less complete, so that will proceed quickly. Clearly the biggest single gap in the e-Borders coverage is within the EU, which is what this directive is very precisely going to help us with.