Before leaving for vacation, think about cyber security!
According to the 17th annual report on French tourist practices published by Raffour Interactive, 66% of French people went on vacation in 2018. However, 80% of those travelers stayed in mainland France.
For several years, the French have been rather fearful of traveling abroad. Tourism professionals feel this hesitation and notice the rigor of controls regarding travel reservations.
Indeed, faced with the threat of terrorism, several sectors are facing more and more restrictive requirements. While the private security sector is up 40%, the travel industry itself is adopting regulations which tighten access to borders.
Hackers are after your data
If it’s not for you to think about, the authorities will do it for you! Requesting a visa and entering a country isn’t so easy. Called the PNR (Passenger Name Record), it allows you to identify yourself to the authorities. Flight security is at stake. This registration contains all the data for the trip. Composed of a unique identifier of six alphanumeric characters called the Record Locator, it allows the reservation system to centralize travelers’ information and list them by flight, year, trip, etc.
A PNR assembles:
- Passenger name(s)
- Contact information of participant(s)
- Flight details
Any booking and flight preferences are also included.
Information about your trip in the CNIL’s sights
However, not everyone adheres to this system. In fact, the CNIL actually sees it as an invasion of privacy. What’s more, the possible transfer of this data to the United States includes a significant risk of a breach. American law has a reputation for having a lack of rigor in this area compared to the European Union.
In France, the anti-terrorism law of 2006 forced rail, air and maritime transport companies to transmit PNR data to the police and gendarmerie.
From this point forward, the data can be compared with the Fichier des Personnes Recherchées (FPR), i.e. Wanted Persons File, as well as the Schengen Information System(SIS) with the objective of ensuring passenger safety. This data is saved for five years for travelers coming from or going to countries outside the European Union.
Cathay Pacific and British Airways: two victims of hacking
We’re dealing with a sensitive subject here. These last few months saw abuses from hackers. At the end of October 2018, the Hong Kong airline, Cathay Pacific, announced the theft of data from nine million customers, including 860,000 passport numbers. Closer still, British Airways also confessed to having no fewer than 429,000 credit card numbers stolen from them.
It goes without saying that companies now must work together to find an effective data management system or risk facing a mass exodus of travelers. According to the Routard site and based on a 2019 study, one-third of French people have reduced their travel budgets, spending an average of 1,307 € on vacation.