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Scientific Blog Post Year : 2023

Passengers Name Records and Security. Origins, transnational trajectories, and current dilemmas

Abstract

Security is not a transparent concept, but a contested one. There is no single form of security (national or global), but different forms of security (or in-security processes) that might be contradictory and mutually destructive. That is true for the notions of “preventive security” on the one hand, and of “policing security” on the other. The latter refers to targeted actions which respond to prognoses about concrete individual cases. Its legal framework is that of criminal law, based on a logic of inquiry, evidence-based investigation, and the presumption of innocence, even when it involves intelligence-led policing. In contrast, the new paradigm of preventive security relies on generalised surveillance and on a logic of general suspicion. Its principal legal field is that of administrative law and it operates through predictive tools that produce new ‘realities’ by establishing correlations and patterns between seemingly unrelated facts. In this sense, preventive security is creative – not merely reactive. Preventive security and policing security are largely incompatible. The EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) Directive is based on the logic of preventive security. In this post, we describe the emergence of preventive security, how it entered into and eventually transformed PNR collection from a commercial activity into a security tool, and radically reshaped the work of border guards. Finally, we highlight the possible effects of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)’s PNR decision (Ligue des droits humains) on the operation of preventive security measures. We argue that the judge of the CJEU did not simply accept a preventive security argument, and curbed its expansion, which may help security services to enhance their efficiency and legitimacy.
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Dates and versions

hal-04093900 , version 1 (10-05-2023)

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Didier Bigo, Stefan Salomon. Passengers Name Records and Security. Origins, transnational trajectories, and current dilemmas. 2023, ⟨10.17176/20230509-163317-0⟩. ⟨hal-04093900⟩
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