September 22, 2008 By News Report
Last May, the European Commission began establishing an electronic European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) to help EU Member States share criminal records and exchange information on past criminal convictions.
Last week, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) voiced suport of ECRIS, provided that additional data protection guarantees be established to compensate for the current lack of a comprehensive legal framework on data protection in the field of cooperation between police and judicial authorities. EDPS emphasizedthe need for effective coordination in the data protection supervision of the system, which involves authorities of the EU member states and the Commission as provider of the common communication infrastructure.
"The processing of personal data relating to criminal convictions is of a sensitive nature," said Supervisor Peter Hustinx, "and the confidentiality and integrity of criminal records data sent to other member states must be guaranteed. It is therefore paramount that high standards of data protection be applied to the functioning of the system, which should ensure a solid technical infrastructure, a high quality of information and an effective supervision."
The EDPS opinion also includes the following recommendations: