The European Union and the
Under the pact, the EUs prosecution agency Eurojust and
The EU said that the new pact aims to enhance and facilitate close cooperation between prosecution and investigation authorities in the EU and the
Eurojust, made up of crime investigators from the 25 member states, aims at improving member states co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of cross-border and organised crime.
The new transatlantic move comes amid growing European concern about violations of citizens privacy rights under the US-led war on terror as spotlighted in transatlantic rows over data transfers.
The deal is a slippery slope which shows a lot of ambiguity and leaves room for much interpretation, European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx said in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa.)
Hustinx, who monitors the processing of personal data by EU institutions, has the power to take cases of privacy infringements to the EU Court of Justice, the blocs top legal body.
As the data protection supervisor, he acts independently of EU institutions and gives governments and EU bodies advice on security standards.
Europeans did not want a so-called surveillance society, said Hustinx, warning the EU against gradually giving up privacy rights because once you have given them up, you are not going to get them back.
The EU and the
Under the pact, European air carriers are obliged to give US authorities up to 34 pieces of information on each passenger aboard America-bound flights. The data includes credit card numbers, travel itineraries, addresses and telephone numbers.
But Hustinx said that the safeguards were either inadequate or left room for much interpretation: What is the purpose of the whole exercise, what are the data used for? What is the storage time? Is it done on a case-by-case basis or routinely so?
Digital checks done before people cross borders must have sufficient focus and proportionality plus adequate safeguards, Hustinx said, adding: There are certain systems that don’t seem to match that.
The EU and the
Hustinx said that the
Society needs to be safe but if we give up safeguards were not sure that this will add to our security, Hustinx said. In the end we will not feel more secure because we are being monitored all the time.
The new member states have not become members of the EU to experience what they experienced before, he stressed.
If monitoring international traffic meant that people walking on the street could be identified and arrested for things presumed to be true then that reminds us of old times.
People who filled out a loyalty card from their local supermarket or gave away personal data on the Internet, were doing so voluntarily. But they had no choice when dealing with data demands by governments, in particular with foreign ones, Hustinx said.
He also said that a controversial scheme to give bank transactions to
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the
Every transaction monitored – is this the society we want to live in? Hustinx asked, adding: If this is an acceptable situation, is it an approach that EU governments would copy, and if so, could we trust these institutions?
Swift rejected criticism that it has violated EU privacy rights, saying it had received strong US assurances that the data would be used exclusively for terrorism investigations.
With the EU and the US increasingly at odds over how to reconcile civil liberties with the US-led fight against terrorism, the bloc needed new rules which could give a guiding light in all these difficult issues in the near future, Hustinx said.