Magazine article European Social Policy

Justice and Home Affairs : Hustinx Slams Frattini's Border Management Package

Magazine article European Social Policy

Justice and Home Affairs : Hustinx Slams Frattini's Border Management Package

Article excerpt

Too many far-reaching legislative proposals to monitor travellers and a lack of evidence for their need, an insufficient evaluation of existing systems and too heavy a reliance on biometric data. These are, according to the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, the biggest dangers of the three new communications on the EU's external borders management.

The communications were unveiled by EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattin,i on 13 February (see Europolitics 3470 and 3471). They include: a proposal to establish an entry-exit system, under which all non-EU visitors would be fingerprinted and photographed at EU border crossings; a vision to set up an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme; the construction of a common European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), which would track illegal migrants and traffickers; and a radical reform of Frontex, the EU agency charged with cooperation in border management.

In a first reaction to the package, on 4 March, EDPS Hustinx focused on the measures that raise data protection concerns, such as the entry-exit system, biometric data and the creation of a large EU database to store this information. He stressed that the measures demand careful scrutiny as they may amount to privacy intrusions. "It is crucial that the impact on the privacy rights of individuals crossing the EU borders is adequately taken into account," Hustinx said. "A lack of data protection safeguards would not only mean that the individuals concerned might suffer unduly from the proposed measures, but also that the measures will be less effective, or even counter-productive, by diminishing public trust in government action. …

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