EU data protection superviser supports criminal records link-up

In May, the European Commission began establishing an electronic European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) to help EU member states share criminal records and exchange information on past criminal convictions.

Oct 2, 2008
By Paul Jacques
PCC Donna Jones

In May, the European Commission began establishing an electronic European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) to help EU member states share criminal records and exchange information on past criminal convictions.

Last month, the European Data Protection Superviser (EDPS) gave support to ECRIS, provided that a number of considerations are taken into account.

In particular, Peter Hustinx pointed out that additional data protection guarantees should compensate the current lack of a comprehensive legal framework on data protection in the field of cooperation between police and judicial authorities.

He emphasised the need for effective coordination in the data protection supervision of the system, which involves authorities of the member states and the Commission as provider of the common communication infrastructure.

Mr Hustinx explained: “The processing of personal data relating to criminal convictions is of a sensitive nature, and the confidentiality and integrity of criminal records data sent to other member states must be guaranteed.

“It is therefore paramount that high standards of data protection be applied to the functioning of the system, which should ensure a solid technical infrastructure, a high quality of information and an effective supervision.”

The EDPS also made the following recommendations:

•A reference to a high level of data protection should be made in the decision as a precondition for the implementing measures to be adopted.
•The responsibility of the Commission for the common infrastructure of the system, as well as the applicability of Regulation 45/2001, should be clarified to better ensure legal certainty.
•The Commission should also be responsible for the interconnection software of ECRIS – and not member states as provided in the proposal – in order to improve the effectiveness of the exchange and to allow better supervision of the system.
•The use of automatic translations should be clearly defined and circumscribed, so as to favour mutual understanding of criminal offences without affecting the quality of the information transmitted.

Related News

Select Vacancies

Promotion to Sergeant

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Alliance

Chief Constable

Isle of Man Constabulary

Copyright © 2022 Police Professional