EU countries to share their police database

15 Jun 2007

Criminals on the run will find it harder to evade capture as law enforcement across the EU will now be able to determine immediately if the fingerprint or DNA sample they have matches one in another member state.

Police already have access to DNA and fingerprint databases in other EU states but only following a request to carry out a comparison and a further request for access to the data if it is found to match.

This new system goes against the advice of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), who pointed out that varying levels of data protection in different countries will make this system tricky, considering each individual country’s database will be subject to that particular national law.

As Data Protection Supervisor, Peter Hustinx makes sure that EU institutions and organisations do not abuse the fundamental right of the EU citizen to personal data privacy and protection.

Changes will need to be written into each member state’s law as there is no framework for data protection at all in the new agreement, according to Hustinx, but he points to the built-in protection clauses in the Prum Treaty, saying the new agreement would have to be treated along those lines.

All 27 member states have agreed to this database sharing, including the UK, who declined two years ago, to sign the Prum Treaty, the agreement which established the current database policies.

By Marie Boran