Smart borders: expensive, violate right to privacy

EPA/ARTUR RESZKO

The workers of the Customs Border Service of the Podlaskie voivodeship test the new device for X-ray screening of vehicles on the road border crossing in Kuznica, eastern Poland

Smart borders: expensive, violate right to privacy


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The European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group in the European Parliament has welcomed the European Parliament LIBE Committee’s vote in favour of the so-called Smart Borders Package, the Entry/Exit System (EES), with severe criticism.

“The Entry/Exit System text that was voted on today is the result of negotiations with the European Council,” said GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur, Marie-Christine Vergiat. “It is complex, costly and dangerous to fundamental rights and freedoms. It conflates irregular immigration, border security and the fight against terrorism, and its effectiveness has not been proven. This is particularly worrying, considering the huge sums of money that would be invested in it.

“In this text, the European Parliament has retreated on many of its initial positions, notably on the right to respect for privacy and data protection. All biometric and alphanumeric data recorded in the EES will be accessible to the member states, including their immigration authorities, law enforcement authorities and intelligence services,” added the French MEP.

“Even worse, it allows data sharing and cooperation with third countries without specifying the purposes for this.”

According to GUE/NGL, the ESS institutionalises the registration of personal details of all third-country nationals on a mass scale.

“This is a big brother-style policy and it would set a dangerous precedent,” warns Vergiat about the text, which is slated to be voted on by the European Parliament’s plenary session.

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