EDPS on the Stockholm Programme

By EDRi · July 15, 2009

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Deutsch: [Der Datenschutzbeauftragte äußert sich zum Stockholmprogramm | http://www.unwatched.org/node/1466]

After the release of the Stockholm Programme considered by civil rights
groups as enhancing the “dangerously authoritarian” European surveillance
and security system, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)
published on 13 July 2009 his opinion on the new system.

The EDPS demands for a stronger focus on fundamental rights in the Stockholm
programme which is due to be adopted by the European Council in December
2009. Thus, he endorses the strategic approach of giving data protection a
prominent place in the European Commission Communication on this topic,
explaining this position:

“Indeed, many initiatives in the Area of freedom, security and justice rely
on the use of personal data, and good data protection is crucial for their
success. Respect of privacy and data protection is not only a legal
obligation with an increasing recognition at EU level, but is also an issue
which is crucial for European citizens, as shown by the results of the
Eurobarometer. Moreover, restricting access to personal data is also
crucial to ensure trust by law enforcement agencies.”

In achieving this goal, the EDPS emphasises the need for a comprehensive
data protection scheme covering all areas of EU competence, regardless of
the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. He also points out that “the
notion of a comprehensive data protection scheme based on a general legal
framework does not exclude the adoption of additional rules for data
protection for the police and the judicial sector.”

EDPS also supports the reaffirmation of the purpose limitation principle as
a cornerstone of the data protection law, but does not forget to
focus on the possibilities to improve the effeciency of the application of
data protection principles.

The Programme should promote “Privacy by design” and privacy aware
technologies. As regards sensitive information, the EDPS reaffirms the
necessity to develop substantive criteria for the use of biometric data,
ensuring that the data are only used when necessary, adequately and
proportionately, and when an explicit, specified and legitimate purpose has
been demonstrated by the legislator.

The concept of free movement of personal data, as presented in the EDPS
opinion is criticized by Tony Bunyan:
“However, the Opinion introduces a strange new interpretation of “free
movement” – one of the four founding rights of the EU. “Free movement” is
well understood to mean the right of people to move around within the EU.
The EDPS argues that “free movement” also comprises “the free movement of
(personal) data”. But should it? The “free movement of personal data” is the
invention of the state (EU and national) and big business. It does not give
the people more rights, quite the reverse because they have little or no
control over the use of their personal data.”

In fact, the Stockholm Programme is not even popular in Stockholm,
as public protests against the programme are organized on 15-17 July in
Humlegården, Stockholm supported by the Swedish Pirate Party.
Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, commented on his blog:
“it feels almost obscene to the Swedish capital city synonymous with a
package whose purpose is to introduce a Bodström Samhälle beyond what was
previously seen, and the elimination of legal civil rights protection for

Area of freedom, security and justice: EDPS calls for strong emphasis on
fundamental rights in future Stockholm Programme (13.07.2009)

Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Communication from
the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on an Area of
freedom, security and justice serving the citizen (10.07.2009)

The “Stockholm Programme” – “The Shape of Things to Come”

Protests Organizing Over ‘Big Brother’ Stockholm Program (12.07.2009)

EDRi-gram: Stockholm programme – the new EU dangerous surveillance system