As we all know, recently Europe experienced a new terrorist attack - again with a vehicle - that occurred in la Rambla in Barcelona (Spain). This was performed with the same technique as the one used in Nice (France) last year: a van (in Nice it was a truck) running at high speed against pedestrians and zigzagging to strike the highest number possible of human beings .
Apart from the mix of anger, fear and pride which is natural to feel in these moments, I would like to focus on transport and related regulations.
After the sequence of terrorist attacks happened in this century, o
n 27 April 2016 the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Directive (EU) 2016/681 on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (The PNR Directive).
The Directive notably provides for the obligation of air carriers to transfer to Member States the PNR data they have collected in the normal course of their business. Member States must transpose the Directive before May 2018.
This was the results of too many perceived risks generated by suspects travelling on planes either to organise attacks similar to 9/11 or to reach other locations in Europe where to implement destructive plans.
Following the last harmful events happened in Europe in the last 12 months, though, the Directive should change and evolve.
As the concept of multi-modal transport is gaining importance to ensure a seamless journey for passengers willing to go from A to B, the same should apply also to the PNR Directive.
As the Barcelona attack was executed with a hired van, n
air carriers be involved, but also train operators, bus/coach operators, car rental companies, car sharing (and bike sharing?) operators. Whilst with taxis the situation is more complicated, Uber would be easy to include as it requests a booking process.
Of course this would generate an incredibly high technological and management (and costly) effort as every single country should create a "
multi-modal PNR" whose data would finally feed an EU-based database in order to record and store every single trip of each of us.
I am aware that someone could disagree with my suggestion as it reminds too much of a "big brother" control but, actually we are constantly tracked & traced every day: when we
i) pay for goods or services with credit/debit cards, ii) withdraw money at ATMs, iii) make a phone call (either landline o mobile), iv) surf the Internet (either landline or mobile), v) pay for public transport by card (see the Oyster card in London), vi) pay for motorway tolls with electronic transponders, vii) check in & out at hotels, viii) walk in the streets or in supermarkets that are plenty of CCTVs, etc.
I wouldn't feel more controlled if someone knew I travelled from A to B by using for instance a sequence of Underground, Train, Airplane (in A) and vice versa in B.
I would certainly feel safer though.
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