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Swiss eye passenger flight data

Nicoletta della Valle
Nicoletta della Valle, head of the Federal Office of Police, made the comments on public radio (archive picture) Keystone

Switzerland should also have access to passenger flight information to help fight serious crime, says the head of the Federal Office of Police.

Around 50 million Passenger Name Records (PNR) data go through Switzerland each year, the office’s head Nicoletta della Valle told Swiss public broadcaster SRF on Saturday.

From the end of May, Switzerland will be obliged to deliver data for flights to Europe to the European Union, she said. It already hands over data to the United States and Canada.

“Now the question remains whether Switzerland can obtain and evaluate this data,” della Valle told the Samstagsrundschau.External link She intends to put forward a legislative proposal to the government – and if passed, to parliament – on the issue.

The police office would like to have access to the data for serious crime cases. It would be evaluated by unit that would be formed within the office, made up of up to 30 experts.

The data includes, for example, name, credit card details and travel dates. The EU approved the PNR directiveExternal link after long discussion in 2016 and it will come into force in May 2018. It obliges airlines that offer flights to and from the EU to hand over passenger details to EU countries. The data will be saved for six months, the aim being to stop terror attacks and to help in the fight against other serious crimes.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR