PNR used to investigate travellers

EDRI (Digital Civil Rights in Europe) reports that it has recently been revealed that UK Police secretly investigated the PNR (Passenger Name Records) data of 47 000 people having travelled in and out of UK in 2009.

The information is used by the police to issue 14 000 intelligence reports on travellers, for future use. “Red flags” can mark travellers as potential terrorists based on information such as ordering a vegetarian meal, travelling with a spouse of foreign birth, asking for an over-wing seat, buying a one-way ticket and making a last-minute reservation. Travelling to the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iran can also bring about a red flag.

After the checks, the system has led to the arrest of 2000 people, mostly sex offenders and football hooligans, but no terrorists have really been spotted out by the system.

Civil liberties campaigners have strongly criticised the system, referring to its inadequacy as an anti-terrorist measure.

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