Data protection watchdog slams EU DNA sharing

The EU's data protection supervisor has slammed plans to implement a treaty that allows member states to share DNA data.

Peter Hustinx criticised the proposals to introduce the Treaty of Prum into EU policy, warning that members of the public would have insufficient protection against their information falling into the hands of governments and criminals.

Seven European countries, including Germany, Spain, France and Belgium, have already signed the treaty, which would allow the sharing of DNA records, fingerprints and car registration details.

Under the proposed deal the agreement, established following the terrorist bomb attacks in Madrid in 2004, would be extended to all member states. Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia are now calling for the treaty to be adopted across Europe.

Although, EU justice and interior ministers approved the plans in February, Hustinx vehemently opposes the idea. “Data protection plays an important role in the Prum Treaty and the provisions have been carefully drafted,” he said. “But they are meant as specific ones on top of a general framework, which unfortunately has still not been adopted. This is needed to give the citizen enough protection, since this decision will make it much easier to exchange data.”

The data protection supervisor also believes that the treaty should enforce a cut-off point for countries holding information and should define the groups of people from which information will be stored on the database. “Clarifications will ensure a harmonised implementation into national law and guarantee citizens’ rights as much as possible,” he added.






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