The European Union has announced its plan to enforce stricter rules regarding its use of personal data of private citizens. “Citizens should have the right to know what personal data are kept and exchanged about them” said Cecilia Malmstr?Â¶m, E.U. Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Any future proposal that regards the collection and use of such data will be individually evaluated in order to decide whether it is necessary and whether it encroaches on the basic rights of individuals. If the proposal receives the stamp of approval, its realization will be closely monitored by an independent authority to ensure that said rights are not trampled.
At this time, the E.U. has a considerable number of agencies and programs that use this kind of information in order to combat crime and terrorist activities. The information is gathered, stored and exchanged between law enforcement and migration agencies.
Among those who will be affected by the new rules are:
- the European Cybercrime Platform (ECCP) – managed by Europol, it collects, analyzes and exchanges information regarding crimes committed on the Internet. “Currently, data protection rules are established by the Europol Decision and Council Framework, but in future the ECCP will report on its activities in an annual report submitted to the Council for endorsement and to the European Parliament for information,” reports PC World.
- the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) – also known as the program that allow the U.S. government to access the SWIFT transaction database, i.e. to European citizens’ financial data.
- the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Schengen Information System II, which collects and shares information about individuals traveling inside the Schengen Area.
- Europol, Eurojust, and the European police agency – which have access to information such as telecommunication traffic between individuals suspected of being involved in crimes that span two or more member states of the Union.
- European databases for the assessment of asylum applications (Eurodac)
- the VIS Visa Information System – visa applications.
- Advance Passenger Information System – tracking of air passengers.