The European Commission has published today a proposal for an “Oyster Card Passenger Name Record (OCPNR) Regulation” to fight serious crime and terrorism before and during the London Olympics. The proposal obliges Transport for London (TfL) to provide EU Member States with data on passengers using London Tube and Bus system whilst at the same time guaranteeing a high level of privacy protection for Olympians and other VIPs.
"This proposal for an OCPNR Regulation is an extension of the existing PNR directive” said Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs. “It enhances EU security policy by allowing the PNR system, for example, to include the fine details of when drugs smugglers, people traffickers and terrorists travel on the Central Line to Stratford”.
Cecilia Malmström continued: “Special provisions ensure that passengers' privacy is respected and we recognise this is especially important to UK pensioners when using their bus pass to get to the local Tesco. Like the PNR Directive, our proposal protects privacy by requiring OCPNR data to be retained only for 5 years. We are especially proud of our subject access procedures which are second to none: these allow passengers to discover where they have gone and which bus they have used".
The Commission proposes that bus drivers transfer data on their passengers in real time but in a way that does not interrupted in their important task of transporting people to the Games. Buses drivers will have a pair of electronic Special Oyster Card Systems (or SOCs) that they will fasten around their lower calf area; these will transmit the oyster card data to the authorities.
These SOC data are combined with data from air carriers' reservation IT systems which will be transmitted to the authorities in order to complete their SOCIT data system. It is this combined system that permits Member States to SOCIT to serious criminals.
The Commission point to strong protection of privacy and personal data in the Regulation. Like the PNR data, OCPNR data cannot be transferred to Third Countries without the say-so of the Member State concerned. Member States must set up secure units that are monitored by an independent supervisory (data protection) authority who, in the UK, does not have the power of audit. Non-custodial sentences are available to punish those staff who deliberately disclose the whole database of personal data to unauthorised persons.
To find out more about protecting London in 2012 follow the link: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/counter-terrorism/olympics/london-2012-public-booklet?view=Binary
To find out more about the PNR system, follow the link: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/120
Download the European Commission Press Release about the Oyster Card here:Download Oyster card April First