EU: Expansion of the permission-to-travel system "a serious interference" with privacy rights


The European Parliament's research service has produced a substitute impact assessment for proposed additional rules for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). Amongst other things, it finds that the proposal to check applicants for travel authorisations against a criminal records system is "a serious interference" with privacy and data protection. The ETIAS was examined in detail in a recent Statewatch publication, Automated Suspicion.

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The European Commission package of ETIAS consequential amendments: Substitute impact assessment (pdf, emphasis added)

"On 7 January 2019, the European Commission presented two proposals for amendments to the legal instruments of the EU information systems following the adoption of Regulation 2018/1240 on the establishment of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). The ETIAS Regulation requires all visa-exempt non-EU nationals to apply online for travel authorisation prior to the date of their departure. Neither the original Commission proposal for ETIAS, nor the two subsequent proposals (‘the Commission package’) were accompanied by Commission impact assessments. The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) therefore requested a targeted substitute impact assessment of the expected fundamental rights impacts of specific elements of the Commission package. This assessment concludes, inter alia, that the Commission package expands the scope of the European Criminal Record Information System for Third-Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN) beyond the purposes stated in the ECRIS-TCN Regulation. This expansion constitutes a serious interference with the rights to respect for private life and to protection of personal data. The necessity of this interference is called into question due to the potential overlap between the Schengen Information System (SIS) and ECRIS-TCN. The assessment moreover finds that the provisions on the automated processing of ETIAS application files also entail interference with the rights to respect for private life and protection of personal data. It also highlights the existence of data quality issues and calls into question the relevance of certain data stored in EU information systems. That said, it finds the provisions on access by the ETIAS Central Unit and the ETIAS National Units relatively well balanced and recommends certain clarifications."

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