The government recently presented a plan to combat social fraud. Among the measures, the use of the airline data file, which would make it possible to determine whether a person benefits from social benefits while not being present on the territory.


On May 30, Gabriel Attal, Minister Delegate for Public Accounts presented his plan to fight against social fraud. Among the new measures that should soon apply in France, access by social security funds to French travel data files.

Watch the report from Réunion La 1ère:

PNR explanations Flight tickets

Concretely, these organizations could soon use the PNR or Passenger Name Record, to control the condition of residence in France which applies to benefit from certain social aids.

This PNR file is the set of data that the airlines collect when you travel: your surname, your first name, your date of birth, your flight itinerary and travel dates, but also your type of ticket, your seat on the plane, your meal on board, the data relating to your luggage and your bank details as well as the means of payment used.

This personal data has been accessible to the American authorities since the attacks of September 11, 2001. This has also paved the way in Europe and France: after the attacks of 2015, the European Parliament authorized the use of passenger name record data to prevent and detect possible terrorist offences.

Today, it is for the purpose of combating social assistance fraud that the government wishes to use this personal data. This applies, for example, to people who have resided outside France for more than six months while continuing to benefit from social aid conditional on residence in France. But by extension, this control could also target retirees from the overseas public service who receive an over-paid pension and who would live most of the year elsewhere than in their overseas department. However, to claim this over-paid pension, they must live there.

But a question now arises: does the State have the right to use this personal data for the purposes of the fight against fraud, when their use is initially intended to fight against the terrorist threat? The Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, indicated that he was currently questioning the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) on this subject, but that according to him, the measure was legally possible.

For the digital law lawyer, that the State uses this personal data acquired from airlines for the purpose of combating social fraud, is “illicit“.

Under current law, this is not legal. he reacts, invited on the set of Réunion La 1ère. “The purpose of the PNR today is to transport a passenger, it is not to know if he is outside the department for the purpose of combating social fraud“, he explains, adding that there is only one exception, the fight against terrorism, “to identify suspicious behavior“.

“Through this knowledge of the movements of citizens, it is an intolerable threat to privacy”

Sulliman Omarjee, digital lawyer

They keep us busy with the GDPR and the protection of personal data, but there is a contradiction in overprotecting the citizen around his data, and at the same time telling him that in certain cases which are not yet provided for by law, we would have permission to access“, believes Sulliman Omarjee.

The details of Sulliman Omarjee on Réunion La 1ère:

Guest set: Sulliman Omarjee, lawyer specializing in digital law

Among the other measures presented by Gabriel Attal on May 30, a potential merger between the national identity card and the Vitale card to fight against fraud in health benefits, an additional penalty of 10% for fraudulent beneficiaries, or even pre-filling of CAF forms.

Finally, the government has indicated that from July 1, social benefits which are subject to the condition of residence on French territory can no longer be paid into an account located outside Europe.

According to government figures, the damage caused by social fraud is estimated at approximately 11 billion euros: 8 billion euros in social contributions evaded for informal work, 2.8 billion euros in social benefits paid by Family allowance funds, and 200 million euros in cost for the general scheme pension funds.