EU: New draft of Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters

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New draft: EU doc no 11365/2/07 REV 2 (pdf) and EU doc no: 13496/07 (pdf).

The latter document sets out "five political questions" for decisions within the Council. These include inserting a clause saying that: "This Framework Decision is without prejudice to essential national security interests and specific intelligence activities in the field of national security." (Art 1.4). Apparently "all delegations" accept that this data protection measure should not cover security services dealing with national security. It is noted that there can be extensive exchanges between the security agencies and the police. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"If the security agencies are not to be covered by this Framework Decision on data protection are they to be subject to another measure, or are they above the law?"

The draft, which has been "carefully crafted", also excludes law enforcement agencies when undertaking "intelligence activities in the field of national security" from the scope of the draft Framework Decision.

Another contentious provision is a watered down provision on "processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or trade-union membership and the processing of data concerning health or sex life". As the Council document notes the Commission proposal called for a strict "regime" (based on the Council of Europe Convention no 108) and laid down: "a general prohibition of the processing of this type of data". The Council's draft - mindful that their position will set a "standard": "which is likely be referred to in other contexts as well (e.g. PNR negotiations
with third countries)"
proposes a lower "standard": "when this is strictly necessary and when the domestic law provides adequate safeguards".

For full background documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU (link)

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