Feeds

Distrust means cop databases suffer arrested development

EU and Lords highlight hurdles

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Police data sharing across the Atlantic and within European is being stymied by technical hurdles and caution over privacy and operational security.

This morning, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued an opinion on a joint EU-US report aimed at setting up improved transatlantic police cooperation, which was presented by the Presidency of the European Union (EU) in June 2008. The report defined common principles on privacy and data protection as a first step towards terrorism and major-crimes information sharing between the EU and the United States (US) to fight terrorism and serious transnational crime.

"A dialogue on 'transatlantic law enforcement' is at the same time welcome and sensitive," said Peter Hustinx, the Supervisor.

"It is welcome in the sense that it could give a clearer framework to the exchanges of data that are or will be taking place. It is also sensitive as it could legitimise massive data transfers in a field - law enforcement - where the impact on individuals is particularly serious, and where strict and reliable safeguards are all the more needed."

Full steam ahead then? Not really, Hustinx suggests "Additional work on outstanding issues should therefore be completed before considering an agreement."

Meanwhile the UK's House of Lords Europe committee debated intra-European police data cooperation, discussing the Europol Information System (EIS) - which is seen as conflicting with the parallel Overall Analysis System for Intelligence and Support (Oasis).

"In terms of the better use of the Europol Information System, I suppose a start would be to get properly connected to it, which we are not," said Assistant chief constable Nick Gargan of Thames Valley Police, giving evidence to the Lords.

"The second thing is, if there are 62,000 entries on the system, we need to be confident that they are the right 62,000 entries ... If Europol seeks to position itself, as it does, at the low volume high end of the criminal investigative market, it is critically important that those 62,000 entries are the right people."

Quite apart from technical issues like this, and obvious privacy concerns like those evinced by the EU's Hustinx, it appears that many coppers are simply reluctant to trust their foreign colleagues with sensitive operational information, especially while investigations are ongoing. This helps to prevent leaks, but also stops pooling of information which could bring criminals to justice, according to the Lords' report.

SOCA expect to be properly hooked up to the EIS within two years. Even so it seems that even then the long-anticipated police database hookups, feared by international master crims and privacy campaigners alike, may yet be some way off.

The Lords' report is here. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.