NEWS: EU Border Guards and the Data Protection Laws
Frontex is the EU agency responsible for regulating the border guards responsible coordinating the activities of the national border guards in ensuring the security of the EU’s borders with non-member states. The EC has proposed strengthening the operational capabilities of the agency – and this is worrying Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor.
He is concerned that the proposal does not specify to what extent Frontex would be allowed to process personal data and, if so, under which circumstances, conditions and limitations. The Commission’s reluctance to specify this legal basis in the proposed Regulation, or to clearly state the date by when it will do so, raises serious concerns. In his view, this approach could lead to undesirable legal uncertainty and a significant risk of non-compliance with data protection rules and safeguards. He has therefore called on the Council and the Parliament to provide more clarity.
I am surprised to see that the proposal is silent about the processing of personal data by Frontex, all the more so as the new legal framework in which Frontex is to operate in the near future is changing so fundamentally. It is essential to lay down clear rules on data protection and provide for a clarification of the conditions and circumstances under which data processing by Frontex could take place.
Peter Hustinx, EDPS