Allowing EU IT systems to communicate and share information can help address current migration and security challenges. However, in the drive to be more efficient and effective, people may find that their personal data has been shared without them knowing or they may be considered suspicious due to data errors. The latest Opinion from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) examines current proposals and suggests how the EU could ensure people’s rights are respected.
There are EU proposals to make more intelligent and targeted use of the information available in the existing and future systems. This will allow national authorities make best use of existing data, detect multiple identities and counter identity fraud, and to carry out rapid and effective checks.
They propose creating a European search portal to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for searching across multiple systems. There will be a way to search existing databases and match biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial images. A common identity repository will pool basic biographical and biometric information, such as names and dates of birth of non-EU citizens, so that they can be reliably identified. In addition, a multiple-identity detector will flag cases where one person has different identities across the different systems.
To explore the impact of such systems, the European Parliament asked the Agency to provide its Opinion on the fundamental rights implications of the proposed interoperability Regulations. The suggestions include:
The EU already has a number of large-scale border management IT systems with plans to create more. Some are being revised. They help deal with visas, asylum applications, as well as internal security to track those who have been refused entry into the EU or are linked to criminal offences.
This Opinion advises the EU on how to avoid potential fundamental rights pitfalls in the proposed Regulations. It encourages respect for the core data protection principles of only sharing as much data as is needed and of limiting how such data are used. It also underlines the wider impact on other rights which should be recognised in the proposals. These include access to justice, the right to asylum and child rights as well as non-discrimination which is already covered.
FRA issues Opinions on specific thematic topics, following requests for advice from the European Parliament, the EU Council or the European Commission. These Opinions are part of the Agency's fundamental rights assistance and expertise that it provides to EU institutions and Member States.