EC sets out European data sharing processes

The European Commission has produced an overview of data-sharing agreements and systems that are used by law enforcement and customs officials in Europe

The European Commission has summarised the various data-sharing processes and systems within Europe, with the objective of clarifying the EU instruments that regulate the collection, storage and transmission of personal data.

Home Affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in statement on Tuesday that the overview also included principles for future EU policy development.

"Citizens should have the right to know what personal data are kept and exchanged about them," said Malmström. "I am happy to be able to present the overview today, together with a series of core principles for how our policy should develop in this area. This will help us keep the bigger picture in mind as we come to review the existing tools and adapt to change over time."

European data-sharing processes and systems, for law enforcement and immigration management purposes, include the Schengen Information System (SIS), said the overview. The SIS is used by police for activities such as issuing international arrest alerts, and for monitoring people or vehicles suspected of being involved in serious crime.

Other information-sharing agreements include Advanced Passenger Infomation (API), in which data is given by air carriers to border control, and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data that is shared with the US, in an agreement which many MEPs say is illegal under European data protection law.

The Data Retention Directive, which obliges telephony providers to store call details for law enforcement scrutiny, is also included in the paper.

The overview also sets out the core principles by which information management instruments in these areas should be evaluated.

"The principles cover issues such as fundamental rights, proportionality and accurate risk management as well as clear allocation of responsibilities, cost effectiveness and reviewing clauses," the Commission said in a statement.