The European Parliament voted for stronger data protection
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On 21 May 2007, the European Parliament (EP) voted for the reinstallation of
the data protection principles in the legislation that allows the police
forces in Europe to share data.
The European Council, which is the one deciding in police and judicial
matters, had formally asked the EP for its opinion on this issue as, lately,
concern has been expressed on the lack of proper protection of personal data
processed in the framework of police and judicial co-operation in criminal
matters. Such a concern has been expressed also by the European Data
Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx who, at the end of May, advised
the Council against adopting the Commission’s new Council Framework Decision
proposal as he considered the proposal did not provide appropriate data
The MEPs, consulted by the German Presidency, voted in favour of amendments
that would provide stronger data protection.
The German Presidency proposed that the legislation should only apply to
data shared between European police forces and not to data held by national
police forces and the decision of whether it should be applied nationally
will be discussed in three years time by EC.
The proposal is that the police should not send data to other forces that do
not have a proper level of data protection in place. The EP has reinstated
an amendment that would prevent the police from sending data to third
countries that don’t have adequate data protection. If the amendment is
voted by the Council, a national harmonisation of police data protection
rules might be forced especially to strengthen the Europe’s co-operation to
face US data snooping programmes like PNR and Swift.
Germany’s action might also allow new EP amendments that deal with the other
concerns expressed by EDPS last month, to be accepted by the Council at its
meeting this month.
Hopefully the European Council will take into consideration the MEPs’ vote
and will take decisions to allow data sharing between police forces in
Europe only with the respect of civil liberties.
Europe votes to restrict police data sharing (23.05.2007)
EDRI-gram: EDPS advises against new data protection framework decision