US migration data demands are “challenging”, say Norwegian authorities


Norwegian government officials have met with their US counterparts to discuss the US' demands for direct access to biometric, identity and criminal record databases as part of its new “border security” plan, according to a report in the newspaper Bergens Tidende. The Norwegian police have apparently described the proposals as “challenging,” given existing legal requirements.

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The US has agreements with the 41 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Programme that allow it to conduct searches in their fingerprint and DNA databases for the purpose of vetting travellers to the country.

According to the Bergens Tidende report, the USA currently allows searches by the Norwegian authorities, but Norway has so far only made its fingerprint database available for US searches.

Under the new plan (pdf), authorities would be able to "compare the fingerprints of travellers seeking entry or immigration status… against their appropriate criminal, terrorist, and identity records," and receive substantial amounts of personal data in case a comparison reveals a match.

As the paper puts it: “the USA wants free access, so that it can freely search various registers and extract information. It will give the US very extensive access to sensitive personal data.”

Currently, when a search in a foreign database reveals a match, a request must be made to the authorities seeking the release of further information.

According to the report, the Norwegian police consider the new US demands “challenging” given current data protection rules, and the justice ministry has said that there are “some questions” that need to be clarified with US authorities.


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Further reading

14 November 2023

USA seeks bilateral deals for access to European “criminal, terrorist, and identity records”

The USA’s proposed Enhanced Border Security Partnerships would entail “systematic and continuous” exchanges of sensitive personal data between participating states. The European Commission has indicated that its working group with the USA has stopped operating, and that plans are instead being negotiated bilaterally between member states and the USA.

24 August 2023

EU and USA plough ahead with secret discussions on biometric data exchange scheme

The EU and USA are discussing a proposed “Enhanced Border Security Partnership” which would involve “continuous and systematic” transfers of biometric data in both directions, but the Commission has refused to release documents that would provide further information to the public.

28 April 2023

USA border plan requires “continuous and systematic” transfers of biometric data

Last year, it was revealed that the USA planned to launch Enhanced Border Security Partnerships (EBSPs) with other states around the world, seemingly targeting the EU, UK and Israel first. These would involve “continuous and systematic” transfers of biometric data to the USA for the purposes of immigration and asylum vetting, says a recent Council of the EU document obtained by Statewatch.


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