Digital Civil Rights in Europe

A set of new measures including biometric data from non-EU travellers are being proposed these days by the European Commission (EC). The proposals, drafted by Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, are being put forward by the EC, arguing that the cross-border policy has to be revised to face the new challenges related to terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration.

The package proposes the creation of an entry/exit register of non-European visitors to the EU bloc that will record the dates of entry and exit of each non-EU individual admitted to the Schengen visa-free area using biometric identifiers. In cases when a person’s visa has expired, an alert can be issued to all national authorities.

A second measure would be the introduction of a European Border Surveillance System that will use satellites and unmanned aircraft to check on the non-UE travellers on a short-stay visa and to track the movements of suspected illegal migrants. The system is already under construction and may be operational by 2012.

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According to Meryem Marzouki, EDRI board member: “These plans add a new wall to the European Fortress, as they consider any migrant as a potential criminal. This entry/exit system will lead to increased surveillance and social control at national level as soon as an alert will be issued after visa expiration without exit. Europe is on its way towards a totalitarian society. As long as there is not adequate data protection under third pillar, there would be no limit to such plans.”

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See the entire article or read the 6.3 issue of EDRi-gram published on 13.02.2008.

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