EU privacy watchdog criticizes 'Big Brother' database

A planned database of all non-EU citizens entering and leaving the bloc is disproportionate, says the European Data Protection Supervisor

A plan to set up a massive database of every non-European Union citizen entering and leaving the bloc is disproportionate, Europe's data privacy watchdog said Friday.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx described the so-called "Smart Borders" initiative as intrusive and uneconomic, and said its aims could probably be achieved more efficiently by using already-existing databases.

In February the European Commission proposed setting up a Registered Traveler Programme (RTP) aimed at frequent business travelers or those with relatives in the E.U.; and an Entry/Exit System (EES). The RTP would make use of automated border control systems such as automated gates for pre-screened visitors, while the EES would digitally record the time and place of entry and exit of third-country nationals and issue an alert to national authorities when there is no exit record by the expiry time. The current practice when checking a third-country national wanting to cross the E.U.'s external borders is based mainly on the stamps in the travel document.

But, Hustinx said Friday, "There is no clear evidence that the Commission proposals will fulfil the aims that it has set out." Even the Commission's own assessments fail to prove that it will be sufficiently efficient to justify the expense and intrusions into privacy, he added.

He also expressed concern that there is an increasing number of databases related to border management, including VIS, SIS, CIS and EURODAC, and that there is a dangerous trend to give law enforcement authorities access to individual data within them. He pointed out that many third countries do not offer the same level of data protection as the E.U.

Members of the European Parliament Ska Keller and Jan Philipp Albrecht have set up a campaign against the proposals called Smashborders.EU urging citizens to fight against the creation of yet another large-scale IT database to store massive amounts of personal information. Albrecht likened it to "Big Brother surveillance".

The Parliament, as well as member states, will have to approve the plans which the Commission hopes to see come into force in 2017 or 2018.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITEuropean Data Protection Supervisorregulationsecurityphysical securityeuropean commissionAccess control and authenticationgovernmentprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?