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EU data protection supervisor warns on migrant privacy rights

EU data protection supervisor warns on migrant privacy rights

The European Union’s data protection supervisor (EDPS), Wojciech Wiewiórowski, has recently revealed that European institutions and bodies often afford limited privacy and data protection to asylum seekers.

Speaking with the EU Observer, Wiewiórowski said that people reaching EU borders seeking international protection are required to provide personal data in order to gain access.

“We are forgetting for which reasons we were collecting the data,” he said. The result sometimes includes denying data-protection principles such as purpose limitation and data minimization from the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR) and directives on law enforcement.

Wiewiórowski said he understands EU states and Frontex border officials wanting to collect the personal data of migrants for security purposes. Still, he adds it is essential not to forget rights established by the EU treaties.

Wiewiórowski’s remarks come months after he called for Europol to erase data on people with no proven link to criminal activity.

More recently, the supervisor’s staff audited Frontex’s processing of the personal data of migrants in Warsaw. The investigation examined how the border agency and Europol share data through the PeDRA (Processing of Personal Data for Risk Analysis) framework.

The audit results are not yet available on deadline, but Wiewiórowski said the EU’s Internal Security Fund increased by 90 percent, to €1.9 billion ($2 billion), compared to the previous seven-year cycle. He says this has substantially contributed to the deployment of surveillance projects, including those relying on biometrics.

Among them are, Wiewiórowski said, is the expansion of Greece’s automated border surveillance system, designed to track migrants trying to enter the country through Turkey.

He also said the EU’s Integrated Border Management Fund, which recently increased to €7.3 billion ($7.84 billion).

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