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EU executive proposes safeguards on use of data

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CIOL Bureau
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BRUSSELS: Safeguards on how member states swap personal data to tackle serious crime were proposed by the European Commission on Tuesday in a move to reassure people over separate plans to store all EU phone and Internet traffic.

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The Brussels executive said stronger police cooperation between the European Union's 25 members is increasingly needed to combat organised crime and terrorism.

"Such cooperation necessarily implies the exchange of personal data, indeed such exchange often proves vital in criminal investigations," Commission Vice President Franco Frattini said in a statement.

Bomb attacks in Madrid last year and in London in July spurred EU states to push for stronger measures to tackle terror, but Frattini said fundamental principles regarding data quality and the legitimacy of data processing must be respected.

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The safeguards are being proposed in a "framework decision" that will need member state approval.

The Commission said strict rules on confidentiality and security of processing, judicial remedies, liability and sanctions were important elements of the proposals.

Data will only be given to non-EU countries if they have adequate data protection.

The safeguards should help ease concerns, particularly in the European Parliament, about a separate proposal the Commission made last month to store details of all mobile and fixed telephone calls for a year, and all Internet data for six months to combat terror and other serious crime.

Existing EU data protection rules do not apply to material exchanged between member state police in criminal cases.

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