Update on a Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data
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The Council of the European Union disscused again in its Justice and Home
Affairs Council meeting on 12-13 June 2007 the Council Framework Decision on
the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and
judicial co-operation in criminal matters, without making any clear steps
for its adoption or taking into consideration the European Data Protection
Supervisor (EDPS) comments.
The conclusions of the Council meeting note that the new framework decision
will be based on the Council of Europe established minimum data protection
principles set by the Convention of 28 January 1981 for the protection of
individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data and its
Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001, including Recommendation (87)15
regulating the use of personal data in the police sector.
It also announced that it would “examine all solutions suggested by the
European Parliament” that voted in favour of amendments that would provide
stronger data protection, and expects “to reach a political agreement on
the proposal as soon as possible and at the latest by the end of 2007.”
The Council conclusions did not give any consideration to the opinions
expressed earlier this year by the EDPS that advised against adopting the
proposal considering it failed to provide appropriate data protection.
EDPS reacted also to the latest conclusions by making an appeal to the
Portuguese presidency of the European Union in a public letter sent to the
Ministers for Justice and Interior . Peter Hustinx showed his concern
that a number of agreements on new anti-terrorist measures have been
concluded without fully considering the impact on fundamental rights.
“I fear that messages such as ‘no right to privacy until
life and security are guaranteed’ are developing into a mantra suggesting
that fundamental rights and freedoms are a luxury that security can not
afford. I very much challenge that view and stress that there should be no
doubt that effective anti-terror measures can be framed within the
boundaries of data protection” said Hustinx.
EDPS expresses his concern that such a negative approach to individual
privacy rights reveals an apparent lack of understanding of the framework of
human rights law. This framework has always allowed for necessary and
proportionate measures to combat crime and terrorism. This negative approach
also ignores the lessons learned about the abuse of fundamental rights from
dealing with terrorism within Europe’s borders over the last 50 years.
EDPS also considered that its relationship with the Council of the European
Union needs further improvement. Consequently, he makes himself available as
an advisor on all matters concerning personal data processing so that the
Council may adopt effective and legitimate new policies.
The delay in adopting the Council Framework Decision has been criticized
also by the European Commission, through Vice-president Franco Frattini,
responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security that “regrets that the
Framework Decision is not yet adopted, in particular because the
Commission’s proposal for the Framework Decision was already tabled in 2005
and it only establishes a minimum level of harmonisation of data protection
The Commission also encouraged the Council to give priority to the
discussions on the Framework Decision in order to reach a political
agreement on the this act as soon as possible.
Council Conclusions concerning the Council Framework Decision on the
protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and
judicial co-operation in criminal matters (12.06.2007)
Data protection – Proposal for a Framework Decision on the protection of
personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation
in criminal matters (12.06.2007)
Presidency work programme and the protection of individuals with regard to
the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data
EDPS letter to incoming Portuguese presidency: fundamental rights are not
captives of security (12.06.2007)
EDRI-gram: The European Parliament voted for stronger data protection
EDRI-gram: EDPS advises against new data protection framework decision