By Paul Meller
IDG news service
25 June 2009
The European Commission has proposed a new independent agency to manage
massive IT systems used by border control authorities, the first step in
the creation of a pan-European system of security and surveillance.
The so-far-unnamed agency will initially house passport, visa and
fingerprint databases from across the EU, but later it will take control
of other IT systems, such as ones that record all entry and exit
movements of individuals. Biometric data will also be added to the
existing databases, said a Commission official who asked not to be
However, civil liberties groups have warned that EU security officials
are seeking to build an increasingly sophisticated security machine that
reaches across the 27 EU countries. The Commission has tried to play
down these fears by insisting that the new agency will not itself have
access to any of the information in the databases it manages.
"It will have access to technical data needed for operational purposes
and it will draw up statistics on, for example, illegal immigrants, as
the databases do at present, but it won't have access to the details in
the data, and nor will it connect the information from the separate
databases into one system," the official said.
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