The European commission’s plans to store all air passenger data for up to five years does “breach personal privacy” but is needed to keep travellers safe, says data expert.
Susan Hopley, who runs data financing firm The Data Exchange, told BBT that any move to make travel safer should be welcomed.
“The world has changed. Notions of privacy have changed. Many people want others to know about their personal lives in great detail. This is a trend. Having such counter-terror measures does breach personal privacy, but that is the point,” said Hopley.
“We live in a world that is no longer safe from conspirators, lone wolves, and sadly disturbed individuals. Without this information we are at risk.
“The issue is how is this data protected and who has access to it and what value or danger would result of it being accessed and hacked by the wrong people,” she added.
Yesterday the EC outlined plans that would enable police and security services to store 42 separate pieces of information including their bank card details, home address and meal preferences.
The Commission’s proposal describes itself as a “workable compromise” between European interior ministers, who want the plan adopted for all flights within Europe as well as international flights, and the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, which has previously vetoed the plan.
Hopley said travellers must be made aware by their employer about any changes to privacy laws and warned their “patterns of travel could well be compromised if the data fell into the wrong hands”.
“A great deal of this information is already out there in less secure data systems.”
She added: “I think businesses need to make their employees more aware of what is happening to their data on so many levels. Data is a marketable commodity.”
Susan Hopley was named in BBT’s 2014 Hot List.