An Analysis of the Commission Communication (COM (2005) 597 Final) on Improved Effectiveness, Enhanced Interoperability and Synergies Among European Databases in the Area of Justice and Home Affairs

01-01-2006

Commission Communication (2005)597 has gone widely unnoticed which is probably due more to the complexity of matters treated than the unanimous applause obtained. Equally unusual is its objective as it does not propose concrete legislative action but offers various technical and organisational scenarios for Council and Parliament to pick from when designing the future of JHA databases SIS II, VIS, EURODAC and possibly adding a few new structures. The developments examined for maintaining a high level of security (in particular as regards acts of terrorism and serious crime) in view of ensuring a maximum of free movement, are centred around the increased use of biometrics for control and facilitation purposes (“trusted-traveller-programme”), as well as extended access to JHA databases by internal security services. While most of the features promise greater if not impressive efficiency for surveillance purposes, their possible use may make the alarm bells ring for those preoccupied with the risks involved for data protection, proportionality and other human rights. It is therefore recommended, that the Parliament study carefully the options proposed and voice its concerns and priorities in order to actively participate in the shaping of the future JHA database landscape at the EU-level.

Commission Communication (2005)597 has gone widely unnoticed which is probably due more to the complexity of matters treated than the unanimous applause obtained. Equally unusual is its objective as it does not propose concrete legislative action but offers various technical and organisational scenarios for Council and Parliament to pick from when designing the future of JHA databases SIS II, VIS, EURODAC and possibly adding a few new structures. The developments examined for maintaining a high level of security (in particular as regards acts of terrorism and serious crime) in view of ensuring a maximum of free movement, are centred around the increased use of biometrics for control and facilitation purposes (“trusted-traveller-programme”), as well as extended access to JHA databases by internal security services. While most of the features promise greater if not impressive efficiency for surveillance purposes, their possible use may make the alarm bells ring for those preoccupied with the risks involved for data protection, proportionality and other human rights. It is therefore recommended, that the Parliament study carefully the options proposed and voice its concerns and priorities in order to actively participate in the shaping of the future JHA database landscape at the EU-level.