Feeds

MEPs draft ring of flowers for fortress Europe

Caring, sharing police databases

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The European Parliament has fashioned a wreath of caveats it hopes will brighten up legislative measures designed to raise biometric borders and erect a network of biometric controls for police across the continent.

The elected chamber is celebrating at least one certain success today: the official ratification of a compromise it struck with the German Presidency and member states in the European Council over the Visa Information System, which promises to create the world's largest biometric database to monitor flows of immigrants into Europe.

MEPs also gave their approval for two sets of proposed amendments to legislation over which they have no authority, but on which the council has asked for their tuppenny's: the Prüm mechanism for European police forces to share DNA, fingerprints, and other data, and the proposal to give the police much broader authority to share data in police and judicial matters.

These two proposals are so closely related they have turned into a bit of a hash that has left countries such as the UK feeling a bit sore and confused.

The data protection bag has been gathering dust since 2005 because, according to British MPs, member states have been so excited about the potential for technology to improve policing that they've neglected fundamental human rights. Hence Prüm, the dubious democratic legitimacy of which has also ruffled a few feathers.

Taking their lead from the European Data Protection Supervisor, MEPs are pressing the council to make sure the Prüm initiative respects the "basic principles of law and fundamental rights". MEP Fausto Correia, rapporteur for the consultation, recommended the legislation should be trimmed to exclude the sharing of data about people's "racial and ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, party or trade union membership, sexual orientation or health" - with the vague exception when it is "absolutely necessary".

It is also proposed that police delete data they've got from another country's force no later than two years beyond its useful shelf-life. But it does not - indeed cannot - do anything about the charges against the legitimacy of Prüm, nor suggestions its implications and uses haven't been thought out properly.

And, bizarrely, the same goes for the proposed data protection legislation, which is supposed to make police data plans respect fundamental human rights. As they stand, they don't.

MEP Martine Roure has issued a raft of proposals aimed at improving police data protections. These have previously fallen on deaf ears.

The extent of Roure's proposals shows just how feeble the measure is in its current form. She wants criminal sanctions for police who break data protection laws, oversight of data sharing by independent authorities, the right of redress for people who become the subjects of police databases, a record kept of the reliability of intelligence collected for police purposes, independent control of data sharing about people not deemed a security risk, regular verification of data, and a prohibition on the collection of data about people's "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership and health or sex life."

Phew. And that's just an excerpt. At least the VIS legislation, for which a compromise has already been agreed, is now a shoe-in. It awaits just the vote of the council in a fortnight's time before the European Commission can pull the modesty screens back on the system it has already been busy building in the anticipation that the legislation would indeed be a shoe-in. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.