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Fundamental rights and the interoperability of EU information systems

The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, addressed the European Commission’s high-level expert group on information systems and interoperability in Brussels on 25 April.

During his speech he underlined how interoperability is not intrinsically a fundamental rights violation. It requires adequate safeguards and mechanisms to ensure the rights set out in the EU's Fundamental Rights Charter are upheld without exception for everyone entering and residing in the EU.

In his speech he spoke of the potential advantages of interoperability such as helping to trace missing children or being able to draw on previous records for proof of identification. However, he also outlined the very real challenges it presents; these include guarding against access of personal data by criminals who find such data attractive or preventing the unlawful sharing of data with countries beyond the EU. He also made suggestions of how to avoid fundamental rights violations, outlined in a draft paper presented during the meeting.