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EU rules on use of personal data for policing lack safeguards

September 23, 2008 2:14 PM

In its response to a proposed new EU law on privacy protection in use of personal data for policing and law enforcement, the European Parliament is demanding much stricter safeguards than EU states are willing to give.

Commenting, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat Justice and Human Rights Spokesperson, said:

"In emptying the original proposal of much of its protective content and settling on a lowest common denominator agreement, EU government ministers are stupidly undermining the effort to create public confidence in EU cross-border police cooperation."

Loopholes include applicability only to exchanges of data between Member states and not to processing of data within them as originally envisaged, lax rules on transfers to foreign countries, possibility to access sensitive details like race, political opinions or religious affiliation and too-wide scope to justify use of data for new purposes.

Sarah Ludford added:

"We have seen the outrage in the UK of local councils having access to personal details, ostensibly kept for purposes of tackling terrorism and serious crime, to check up on eligibility for school places. If this does not stop, European citizens will not trust measures like the European Arrest Warrant that we do in fact need in order to catch real criminals.

"It is illegitimate to go on making laws like this without MEPs having the full right to co-decision. This is the price of the non-ratification of the Lisbon Treaty which will at last make EU policing laws transparent and democratic."