New EU super-database raises concerns for civil liberties and security

April 29, 2019
Tim Heywood


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Civil Liberties groups and security experts have voiced concerns over the EU’s proposed new super-database.  The EU has approved the creation of the gigantic database which will aggregate the identity and biometric details of an estimated 350 million citizens. The “Common Identity Repository” (CIR) is intended to help EU border and law enforcement officers search a single system at a much faster rate than separate databases individually.  

Tim Heywood, a data protection specialist at law firm gunnercooke, explained why the move has caused such a stir:

“Biometric data is a special category of personal data that should enjoy enhanced protections from unnecessary collection as well as from unauthorised access. 

“There were two separate EU Parliament votes last week and the decision was to allow the combination of various existing and several proposed new databases that contain biometric data. The new  CIR database is supposed to help with immigration control and wider law enforcement (and these policy areas have different rules compared to the normal GDPR) but it does raise concerns for civil liberties and in terms of the security of the database.  Aggregation of data into a single database can mean that a single security breach has a much more significant impact both in terms of the number of individuals whose data are affected and the nature and extent of the data which the successful hacker gets access to.”