EU: Police press ahead with efforts to automate cross-border information-sharing

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Police forces are moving ahead with plans to increasingly automate the sharing of personal data across EU states, according to documents recently shared within the Council of the EU.

Simplifying the exchange of data between law enforcement authorities has long been part of the EU's agenda, and both legal and technical means have been introduced for that purpose.

For example, in 2006 rules were introduced (through the 'Swedish Framework Decision') to ensure that cross-border data-sharing takes places in the same way as data-sharing within a Member State.

More recently, two new Regulations introducing a "framework for interoperabilty" between EU databases and information systems were agreed by the European Parliament. When they come into force, automated data-matching with the aim of detecting multiple identities will be introduced between different EU law enforcement and migration databases.

A document produced by the Romanian Presidency takes up the issue of automating the exchange of data amongst national police forces. The intention is to adopt the draft text as a paper in early May, as the basis for future work.

The document explains:

"Methodological discussions have been on the agenda of DAPIX for a long time, particularly in the framework of implementing the Information Management Strategy (IMS). While the business needs and added value of automation seem self-evident, the Presidency has launched a debate on the subject. The intention is to put the topic into perspective in relation to an ever-growing and complex information exchange landscape, which has seen a political shift towards increased automation, as manifested in recent legislation."

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Moving forward the automation of data exchange (8526/19, LIMITE, 16 April 2019, pdf)

Two other documents shared with DAPIX by the French and German delegations provide the results of a recent pilot project on automating the exchange of police data, entitled 'ADEP-EPRIS' (emphasis added):

"Within the project ‘ADEP Pilot Implementation and Evaluation by MS’ the European Police Records Index System (EPRIS) has been piloted. The pilot led by France has been funded by the European Commission with an amount of 1.5 million Euros for the period from the 1st of July 2017 to 31st of December 2018. In addition to France, Finland, Germany, Ireland and Spain participated in this pilot project, as well as Europol. Three countries were associated as observers: Hungary, Belgium and Austria.

...The scope of EPRIS-ADEP is the automation of presently manual and therefore labour and time-consuming processes for identifying whether certain law-enforcement-related data is available in one or several Member States (MS) in order to enable and facilitate the subsequent bilateral or multilateral information exchange. The pilot project aimed to create a technical system cross-checking index databases provided by each participant, containing an extract of law enforcement records (with pseudonymised biographical data such as family name, surname, any other names/alias, date of birth, place of birth, gender)."

See: NOTE from: French and German delegation to: DAPIX: Information Management Strategy (IMS) action No 2 - Action EPRIS-ADEP - final evaluation report - ADEP Technology - Services and applications (7886/19, LIMITE, 27 March 2019, pdf) and: Draft executive summary (6495/19, LIMITE, 15 February 2019, pdf)

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