Magazine article European Social Policy

Illegal Immigration : Frattini's Plans Spark Accusations of Big Brother' Regime in Eu

Magazine article European Social Policy

Illegal Immigration : Frattini's Plans Spark Accusations of Big Brother' Regime in Eu

Article excerpt

The European Commission's sweeping plans to beef up the security of the EU's external borders, unveiled on 13 February, have led Liberal MEPs, civil rights advocates and privacy protection groups to accuse the EU executive of trying to impose a Big Brother' regime in Europe.

Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini insists that plans for biometric checks at border points and constant satellite surveillance of borders are vital for the bloc's security. However, his opponents say that the proposals would build "fortress Europe," could breach European privacy laws and stop legitimate asylum seekers from seeking protection.

BOYS WITH TOYS

The Liberal group in the European Parliament (ALDE) said that "a Big Brother mentality" is taking over in Europe. "We demand to know what all the biometrics proposals the Commission has been rolling out in piecemeal fashion will amount to, so we can ensure that the total legislative outcome does not exceed the sum of its parts," said ALDE group leader Graham Watson (UK).

Fears of misuse of a large electronic register of personal information, which should be used in the proposed entry-exit system of biometric border checks, were echoed by UK-based Privacy International. Its spokesman, Gus Hosein, said that the data are bound to be lost or abused and that the Commission is only following the example of United States. "It's boys with toys. They want to have the toys the Americans have," Hosein said. …

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