What about the Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector?
The Police Directive ensures the protection of personal data of individuals involved in criminal proceedings, be it as witnesses, victims, or suspects. It will also facilitate a smoother exchange of information between Member States’ police and judicial authorities, improving cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime in Europe. It establishes a comprehensive framework to ensure a high level of data protection whilst taking into account the specific nature of the police and criminal justice field.
How does the Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector impact law enforcement operations?
Law enforcement authorities will be able to exchange data more efficiently and effectively. By further harmonising the 28 different national legislations, the common rules on data protection will enable law enforcement and judicial authorities to cooperate more effectively and more rapidly with each other. It will facilitate the exchange of personal data necessary to prevent crime under conditions of legal certainty, fully in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Criminal law enforcement authorities will no longer have to apply different sets of data protection rules according to the origin of the personal data, saving time and money.
The new rules will apply to both domestic processing and cross-border transfers of personal data. Having more harmonised laws in all EU Member States will make it easier for our police forces to work together. The rules in the Directive take account the specific needs of criminal law enforcement and respect the different legal traditions in Member States.
How does the Directive affect citizens?
Individuals’ personal data will be better protected. The Directive protects citizens’ fundamental right to data protection when data is used by criminal law enforcement authorities. Everyone’s personal data should be processed lawfully, fairly, and only for a specific purpose. All law enforcement processing in the Union must comply with the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, with appropriate safeguards for the individuals. Supervision is ensured by independent national data protection authorities and effective judicial remedies must be provided.
The Directive also provides clear rules for the transfer of personal data by criminal law enforcement authorities outside the EU, to ensure that these transfers take place with an adequate level of data protection. The directive provides robust rules on personal data exchanges at national, European and international level.
How does the Directive affect the work of criminal law enforcement?
Having the same law in all EU Member States will make it easier for our criminal law enforcement authorities to work together in exchanging information. This will increase the efficiency of criminal law enforcement and thus create conditions for more effective crime prevention.
This is also why the Data Protection Directive is considered a key element of the development of the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice and a building block of the EU Agenda on Security. The Directive replaces Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA which previously governed data processing by police and judicial authorities.
The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and, in particular, the introduction of a new legal basis (Article 16 TFEU) allows the establishment of a comprehensive data protection framework in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The new framework will cover both cross-border and domestic processing of personal data.