Airlines give passenger details to government

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 October 2005, MADRID — Airlines have started to give details about passengers to the Spanish government in line with new anti-terrorism guidelines devised after the Madrid bombings.

27 October 2005

MADRID — Airlines have started to give details about passengers to the Spanish government in line with new anti-terrorism guidelines devised after the Madrid bombings.

José Antonio Alonso, interior minister, said Spain would begin a "test period" to see how the system, which obliges airlines to give personal data to the security services, went.

The guidelines were drawn up by an inquiry into the 11 March bomb attacks last year in which 191 people were killed.

A similar system has been brought in in Britain.

From January a new database of personal details is to be opened by the government to build up a picture of the identities and antecedents of those coming to Spain.

Alonso added that extra and improved security is to be introduced in road and port frontiers in Spain's North African enclaves in Ceuta and Melilla, the Balearic Islands and in the Levante peninsular.

Already Spain has arrested 57 people thanks to data built up on 6,000 passengers since September. None were related to terrorism.

Emails and pre-paid tickets provide the key to build up a picture to help Spanish security services combat terrorism.

Alonso added that almost all the measures recommended by the Madrid bombing inquiry are underway.

These included recruiting 1,000 more counter-terrorism agents by the year 2008 and 70 more Arabic translators to make up for a "severe scarcity"  before the attacks.

Civil liberty groups have criticised the new measures, claiming air passengers' details should not be handed over to the state.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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