What does this cover?

The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) have written a letter to European Commissioners regarding the Commission’s Communication on the European Agenda on Security (the Agenda). The Agenda (published in April 2015) aimed to set out "how the Union [could] bring added value to support the Member States in ensuring security".

In WP29's address, it is noted that "respect for fundamental rights (including rights to respect for private life and to data protection) should be an integral part of every aspect of JHA policy [The JHA are the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU] ". It adds that a "large number of the policy measures announced [would] involve the processing of personal data… " and in light of this there is still room for finding a better balance between the fight against threats to public security and the effective application of data protection rules".

The WP29 letter gently challenges the Commission to address the balance by reminding it of "the need to undertake necessity and proportionality tests before proposing any new legislative act" and expressing support of the view that existing legal processes should be exhausted prior to a new legal tool being created. When a new tool is created, WP29 advance that there is a duty to ensure that it incorporates "specific measures implementing data protection requirements of fair and lawful data processing, purpose limitation, data minimization, privacy by design and data retention, and that all the principles should be promoted amongst law enforcement authorities to enable the application of fundamental rights". In addition "this data protection compliant approach should also apply to less formal actions or documents such as action plans, strategies or best practices codes" such as the Agenda.

The Commission has not yet responded.

To view WP29's Letter on the European Agenda on Security, please click here.

To view the EC's communication on the European Agenda on Security (April 2015), please click here.

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

None - this for interest only.