EDPS opinion on the EU database for asylum seekers
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Deutsch: Stellungnahme des EDSB zur Asylwerber-Datenbank der EU
On 5 September 2012, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued his opinion on the amended Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of EURODAC database for the comparison of the fingerprints of asylum seekers.
EURODAC was established by an EC regulation on 11 December 2000 concerning the establishment of a database for the comparison of the fingerprints of asylum seekers for the effective application of the Dublin Convention. On 30 May 2012, the Commission adopted a proposal concerning a modification of the EURODAC Regulation that also provides access to EURODAC data for law enforcement purposes by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol. Peter Hustinx, EDPS, stated in his opinion that while the availability of a database with fingerprints could be a useful additional tool in combating crime, this new amendment represents "a serious intrusion into the rights of a vulnerable group of people in need of protection."
"Just because the data has already been collected, it should not be used for another purpose which may have a far-reaching negative impact on the lives of individuals," said Peter Hustinx who added that such an intrusion risking the stigmatisation of individuals should have a strong justification and that the Commission has not “provided sufficient reason why asylum seekers should be singled out for such treatment." Hustinx asked the Commission to provide solid evidence and reliable statistics for the need to access EURODAC data and added that in case such a need is supported by evidence, the access to the database should be subject to strict, appropriate safeguards.
The EDPS also recommended that the access to the data by law enforcement entities should also be subject to “specific and clearly defined criteria such as a substantiated suspicion that the perpetrator of a terrorist or other serious criminal offence has applied for asylum” and that the request for access for law enforcement purposes should be verified by an independent authority or, preferably, submitted for prior judicial authorisation.
Other recommendations are that the proposal should clearly emphasize that the transfer to third data is prohibited, that it should specify more clearly the rules on retention or deletion of data and that it should include an improvement of the provisions on data security.
Among the conditions for access, the EDPS included the consultation of the Visa Information System, the existence of a substantiated suspicion that the perpetrator of a terrorist or other serious criminal offences has applied for asylum and the “substantial contribution for law enforcement purposes and clarifying what is understood by reasonable grounds”
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Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the amended
proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
on the establishment of "EURODAC" (5.09.2012)