Increased Europol powers need increased data protection policies
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Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) considers that
the changes on the legal basis of Europe’s police (Europol) proposed by the
European Parliament meant to increase its powers have to be accompanied by
proper data protection rules.
The European Parliament has proposed changes that would increase Europol
powers in order to fight radical Islamic terrorism, considered as the
highest threat to the security in Europe.
The EDPS thinks that, before increasing these powers, Europol data
protection policies and data exchange rules should be more consistent and
“We have to make sure that exchange with other EU bodies, such as OLAF (the
European Anti Fraud Agency), will be based on a consistent level of data
protection and good co-operation in supervision,” said Hustinx.
Some of his recommendations were that specific conditions and limitations
should be included in the decision regarding information obtained from
private parties, to ensure the accuracy of these data. Strict conditions and
guarantees should be applied in cases of interoperability with other
He also recommended that data processing should be limited to the relevance
assessment for personal data for which the relevance has not been assessed
and that safeguards should be provided for the access to data of people with
no criminal records.
“Computerised access and retrieval of data from other national and
international information systems should be allowed only on a case by case
basis, under strict conditions.” Hustinx advised.
He also believes that if Europol gets involved in pan-European data sharing,
guarantees must be provided on the independence of its data protection
officer who is responsible for Europol’s lawful data processing.
The EDPS ended his statement by stating he would himself “oversee any
information transfer to Europol from European Commission institutions”.
Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Proposal for a
Council Decision establishing the European Police Office (16.02.2007)
New Europol powers need new protection, says watchdog (22.02.2007)