Smart Borders and Data Protection

Smart Borders and Data Protection

Sarah Progin-Theuerkauf, Margarite Zoeteweij, Ozan Turhan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9489-5.ch009
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In May 2019, the elections to the European Parliament and the political consequences of the new composition of the Parliament, as well as the never-ending Brexit debate, in which there seems to be a new dramatic turn every week, received a lot of media attention. So, it is perhaps not surprising that two regulations adopted by the Council on 20 May 2019 have so far gone almost unnoticed. However, this is completely unjustified, as they will have far-reaching consequences. Specifically, the chapter concerns regulations 2019/817 and 2019/818, establishing a framework for the interoperability (i.e. linkage) between EU information systems in the field of borders and visa and in the area of freedom, security, and justice. The regulations are part of the EU's idea to create smart borders (i.e., borders that can be better and more easily controlled by using new digital systems). This chapter critically analyses the establishment of the individual databases and their interoperability, with a particular focus on data protection issues that result from them.
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The Eu Data Protection Standard

The databases that are the subject of this chapter provide for the storage and use of a range of personal data on migrants: This is information on identified or identifiable natural persons who are third-country nationals and who have entered or wish to enter the Schengen area. The general legal framework for the protection of such data in Europe is fragmented (FRA, 2019).

The first – and, so far, only – international instrument dealing with data protection is the 1981 Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection.5 The Convention contains basic data protection rights. An Additional Protocol to the Data Protection Convention was adopted in 2001.6 Among other things, it contains the obligation to establish national data protection authorities. A revised version of the Data Protection Convention was adopted in May 2018, of which the Additional Protocol of 2001 is an integral part.7 However, to date, the revised Convention has only been ratified by Bulgaria and Croatia.8

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