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Friday, October 9, 2009

The EDPS expresses concerns about measures proposed by the Commission on access to Eurodac

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News The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted an opinion on two Commission proposals that allow law enforcement agencies under certain conditions, to access the Eurodac database. Both proposals were adopted on September the 10th 2009 and allow access to the Eurodac system. They are supposed to facilitate the application of the Dublin Regulation by comparing fingerprints of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants - to for prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offenses and other serious crimes, under the conditions outlined in the proposals.

The EDPS analyses the proposals in the light of their legitimacy, while taking as a starting point the need to strike a right balance between the need for public security and the fundamental right to privacy and data protection, in compliance with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The analysis leads to the conclusion that the necessity and proportionality of the proposals, which are both crucial elements to legitimate privacy intrusion, are not demonstrated . As a result, the EDPS has serious doubts whether the proposals are legitimate and whether legislative instruments should be adopted on this basis. The EDPS recommends assessing the legitimacy of the proposals in a wider context, notably: * the tendency of granting law enforcement access to personal data of individuals that are not suspected of any crime and that have been collected for other purposes; * the need for a case-by-case assessment of every proposal of this kind and for a coherent, comprehensive and future-oriented vision, preferably related to the next five-year framework programme for justice and home affairs ("Stockholm programme"); * the need to first implement and evaluate the application of other new EU instruments, such as the Prüm Decision, that permit consultation by one Member State of fingerprints and other law enforcement data held by another Member State; * the opportunity to postpone the proposals, in the light of the changing legal and policy environment (e.g. entry into force of Lisbon Treaty, current discussions about the recast of EURODAC and Dublin Regulations). Finally, the EDPS emphasises that the necessity of the proposals should be proven by the demonstration of substantial evidence of a link between asylum applicants and terrorism and/or serious crime.

Source :  European Data Protection Superviser


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