Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legislative and operational measures undertaken to establish an advance passenger information system. [7318/19]
107. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an advance passenger information system has been put in place; and the number of cases detected and notified to date to the relevant authorities of other countries and international organisations. [7320/19]
108. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an advance passenger information system has not yet been put into place; the reason therefor; and the way in which and when he plans to make it operational. [7322/19]
109. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legislative and operational measures undertaken to develop Ireland's capability to collect, process and analyse passenger name record data with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for the purpose of preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offences and related travel and to share such data with other relevant states. [7326/19]
110. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the challenges faced in setting capacity to collect, process and analyse passenger name record data. [7328/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 to 110, inclusive, together.
The European Union (Passenger Name Record Data) Regulations 2018 transpose into Irish law, Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.
The Directive requires Member States to establish a Passenger Information Unit (PIU) to collect PNR data from air carriers and transfer and exchange that data or the result of the processing of the data with various bodies as provided for by law.
The Irish PIU is a part of the Department of Justice and Equality and was formally established on 25 May 2018. The primary function of the PIU is to identify persons who require further examination by a competent authority.
The Regulations provide that PNR data shall not be processed in such a manner as to reveal a person’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexual life or sexual orientation.
The Regulations also provide that an assessment of passengers prior to their arrival in or departure from the State carried out against pre-determined criteria shall be carried out in a non-discriminatory manner. The pre-determined criteria must be targeted, proportionate and specific in nature, regularly reviewed and shall not, in any circumstances, be based on the factors referred to above, e.g., a person’s race, ethnic origin, etc.
The Regulations provide for the appointment to the PIU of a Data Protection Officer responsible for monitoring the processing of PNR data and for data protection safeguards under the Regulation and a Data Protection Officer has been duly appointed.
Regulation 15 provides that the Data Protection Commission is responsible for advising on and monitoring the application of the Regulations within the State with a view to protecting fundamental rights in relation to the processing of personal data.
The Regulations provide for the exchange of PNR data with other Member States, Europol and third countries for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime. As the Deputy will appreciate, it would be contrary to the public interest to disclose details of any such exchanges.
Finally, the PIU has also assumed responsibility for collecting and processing data obtained under the European Communities (Communication of Passenger Data) Regulations 2011 - this data is usually referred to as Advance Passenger Information (API).
Under the 2011 Regulations, API data is collected to facilitate the operation and administration of the law concerning the entry into, presence in, departure and removal from the State of persons and for other specified persons. API data is used by members of the Department’s Border Management Unit to facilitate them in their immigration control functions.