Scare tactics or pure necessity?

If it were up to the European Committee (EC), soon every passenger on flights to and from Europe will be asked to provide no fewer than 42 items of personal information which will then be stored for five years in conjunction with the international war on terrorism..

A huge bulk of information will then need to be registered, but is this even attainable, doesn’t this violate our right to privacy and is this really what we as a civilized society want?

Privacy is a thing of the past

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the EC is planning to demand quite a lot of information from travellers. This concerns not only passport and personal contact information, but also travel data, all payment information, frequent-flyer information as well information given to the travel agency and the travel agent. It even stipulates that a traveller’s no-show history, suitcase label, meal preferences and other recently acquired information from national systems should also be registered. This chunk of information will then be stored centrally for five years in a database accessible to police and security agencies.

Travel will become complicated

That this issue raises a great deal of tumult is apparent in an earlier statement released by the European Court. It points out that ‘the random gathering of information, without ensuring that the privacy of citizens remains protected, is a violation of privacy.’ Yet suppose that decent assurance is provided in regards to protecting our privacy and we really will be required to provide those 42 items of personal information. Planning a trip will take on a whole new dimension. Besides required information such as your travel route, travel data, your desired accommodation and rental car information, many more questions will be asked. Naturally, your Travel Management Company can take most of the burden off your hands. TMCs work with traveller profiles which can contain all the information as standard. This way, you or your secretary will only have to endure the list of questions once.

An up-to-date traveller profile is essential

Travel Management Companies will have their work cut out for them. They will need to process the new information provided by their customers into their current travellers’ profiles. This is an enormously time-consuming endeavour. And what if one or more items of information are missing or certain information has changed but hasn’t been recorded into the traveller profile yet? Will this have a direct effect on your trip and could you then be denied from travelling to your destination? In short – much ambiguity remains.

Regulation overkill?

The fact is we live in a time where preventative measures must be taken. But how far do we take these measures? Aren’t we burdening the ordinary citizen with an excess of regulations and formalities? Is this a pure necessity that we must accept or are these simply scare tactics? Can we trust that the preventative measures taken and carried out by these special security agencies created solely for this purpose won’t become a burden to us ordinary citizens? What do you think?

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