Wiesbaden (dpa/lhe) - According to a judgment by the Wiesbaden Administrative Court, the processing of passenger data in accordance with the specifications of an EU directive on counter-terrorism is illegal. Specifically, the negotiated cases involved the comparison of passenger data with police databases by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden. The decisions (6 K 1199/22.WI and 6 K 805/19.WI) can be appealed, as the court announced on Thursday.
The administrative judges decided on two procedures. The plaintiffs flew on routes within Europe or from the EU to third countries and back from there. In this context, their data had been compared with databases by the BKA. "There was no hit with the plaintiffs," the court said.
According to a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the data of passengers on flights within the EU may only be processed if there are indications of terrorist threats on certain flight routes, a court spokeswoman explained. Such a threat has not been proven. The total surveillance of all flights, as regulated in the Passenger Data Act (FlugDaG), is therefore inadmissible.
Also with regard to the flight to a non-EU country, there is no legal basis for the data processing by the BKA, it said. According to the case law of the ECJ, the fight against common crime does not justify comparing the data of all flight passengers with search databases without concrete evidence.
The administrative judges said that EU member states must legally identify the serious crimes for which air passengers are subjected to such extensive data collection. This is the only way to ensure that data storage is only used to combat serious crime. The Passenger Data Act does not contain such a catalog of criminal offences.
The EU directive is intended to combat terrorism and serious crime. Personal data includes name, address, booking data and seat number.