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Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases

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The EU's recently-agreed plans for interconnecting its migration and policing databases are still being implemented (two Regulations were approved in July), but national delegations in the Council are looking to the future - in particular, how to make national law enforcement databases 'interoperable' with EU systems and with one another.

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Automation of information exchange in a strategic context - Discussion paper (11434/19, LIMITE, 6 September 2019, pdf):

"The next step at EU level is to consider to what extent further law enforcement relevant data could be included in the context of interoperability through automation. It is already possible to locate semi-automatically some Member State data through the Prüm regime [which interconnects national fingerprint, DNA and vehicle registration databases]. There have already been discussions about whether or not it is possible to combine certain Prüm queries to the queries that will be made through the ESP under interoperability to the centralised EU information systems. The work of renewing the Prüm regime has just started. DAPIX should follow the development closely.

The difficulties with further automation of Prüm seem primarily of a technical nature and not to the same extent of a legal nature since the Prüm legal regime featuring a hit-no-hit access to the DNA, dactyloscopic and VRD databases of other Member States has already been adopted and established by the Member States. With further automation in this context, the Presidency especially refers to increased interoperability, which means adding possibilities for end users to reach new data sources with a single query."

The document notes a number of ongoing projects, including 'EPRIS-ADEP' (European Police Records Information System - Automation of Data Exchange Processes):

"EPRIS-ADEP is a system for making available certain biographical data contained in national police records, using already existing Europol infrastructure, in particular the Europol Operations Network (EON) and the Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA). EPRIS-ADEP has a general approach following the principle of availability by providing the law enforcement end-user a smooth and efficient workflow in order to EU-wide locate and retrieve the data relevant to fulfil their tasks.

...The software solution is easy to implement, versatile and adjustable to different use cases aiming at locating and facilitating the retrieval of alphanumeric data no matter if stored centrally or de-centrally. By using pseudonymisation the software solution supports the concept of 'privacy by design', serving robust data protection.

While the results of the pilot so far show that the project is most likely technically feasible at EU level, some Member States voiced concerns about the performance of the project and the added value to existing systems like the Europol Information System or have indicated that granting a cross-border automated hit-no-hit access to a pseudonymised index of national law enforcement databases is not currently legally possible for them... . Resolving legal issues, for example by defining a legal framework for EPRIS-ADEP type of exchanges and minimum standards for the content of data to be indexed, should be considered a priority.

According to the Commission, a study on the legal, data protection, operational and technical aspects of the EPRIS initiative is planned. The Presidency deems this study as crucial in order to address the challenge that the current way to address information exchange in relation to certain biographical data is time-consuming and labour-intensive and to move forward with the further automation and interoperability of EU law enforcement databases.

Even though the interoperability package is only entering its implementation phase and the updating of the Prüm regime is only being considered, the Presidency is of the opinion that the next steps should already be envisioned in order to establish a proactive approach for the future."

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Automation of information exchange in a strategic context - Discussion paper (11434/19, LIMITE, 6 September 2019, pdf)

And the previous version: Automation of information exchange in a strategic context - Discussion paper (10581/19, LIMITE, 27 June 2019, pdf)

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