New EC Communication Explores Possibilities to Enhance Border Security through IT

At the beginning of April, the European Commission presented its new Communication on Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security. Although a number of systems already exist at EU level for data gathering and exchange, the data architecture of these systems needs to be improved in order to effectively face modern day threats.

Putting particular emphasis on the Schengen Information System, Interpol’s database on Stolen and Lost Travel Documents, and the Visa Information System, the Communication presents a series of ideas on how the existing systems could be improved and how new information systems should be created to address information gaps. Interoperability of these systems is a key aspects that will need to be addressed. This has previously also been pointed out in the European Agenda on Security.

Going further, the Communication explores how existing and future information systems could enhance both external border management and internal security in the EU. It makes a strong reference to the Passenger Name Records (PNR) directive, which was recently adopted by the European Parliament, and points out some aspects that need to be taken into account in future information systems to ensure that border guards, customs authorities, police officers and judicial authorities have the necessary information at their disposal.

The European Commission Communication is available here.

European Parliament Passes Legislation on Exchange of Passengers’ Data

On 14th April, the European Parliament approved the new directive on Passenger Name Records (PNR), which regulates their use throughout the EU to ensure prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crimes. Approved by 461 votes to 179, with 9 abstentions, the directive is seen as a big step in the fight against human trafficking and international terrorism.

According to the Directive, Member States will have to set up “Passenger Information Units” (PIUs), which will be tasked with collecting, storing and processing PNR data, as well as transmitting the data to relevant authorities. The information collected in PIUs will have to be retained in the system for five years. However, any information related to an individual’s identity will be deleted after six months.

The processing of data related to an individual’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexual life or sexual orientation is banned in the Directive.

The scope of the Directive currently concerns only flights coming from outside the EU or going from the EU to countries outside the Union. However, Member States will be able to extend the scope to cover flights within the EU.

The Directive, after having been adopted by the European Parliament, now needs to be approved by the Council. Then, once published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have two years to transpose the directive into their national legislation.

The European Parliament press release is available here.

Inform the European Commission of Any Problems Encountered Due to EU Spectrum Rules

If you have ever encountered problems due to the implementation of the EU Spectrum Rules, now is the time to let the European Commission know.

The European Commission has published a new reporting form, through which it hopes to gather feedback from stakeholders on the issues and challenges they have experienced regarding the implementation of the radio spectrum Commission implementing decisions. The reporting form is concise, allowing stakeholders to clearly explain the problem that has been encountered and the actions that have been taken to mitigate it.

The information gathered in the reporting form will contribute to the European Commission’s role in monitoring and enforcing implementation of Commission implementing decisions in the area of radio spectrum. The Commission, upon receiving a notification, will assess the reported issues and inform stakeholders accordingly.

More information is available here.

European Commission Public Consultation on Fixed and Mobile Termination Rates

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on fixed and mobile termination rates and is inviting all interested stakeholders to send in their responses to a questionnaire by 7th June 2016. The consultation is particularly targeted at national regulators, telecommunications operators, consultancies, civil society organisations and public authorities.

The consultation concerns the Evaluation of the Termination Rates Recommendation (TRR) of 2009, which forms part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy. Termination rates are the rates that telecoms operators charge each other to deliver calls between networks. The TRR aims to increase consistency across EU countries regarding the way in which national regulatory authorities set termination rates and to decrease discrepancies between fixed and mobile termination charges. As a result, the TRR contributes to promoting efficiency and sustainable competition and maximises benefits for consumers.

The questionnaire that forms the basis of the consultation is structured in two parts, each of which has a specific objective. The first part aims to evaluate the impact of the TRR on the termination markets and on the EU internal market, whereas the second part aims to gather views on whether the regulatory approach towards termination rates should be maintained or amended.

More information is available here.

PSCE publishes White Paper on Security and interoperability in next generation PPDR

PSCE is pleased to release its White Paper 4 dealing with the security architecture, end-to-end security, privacy mechanisms and intrusion detection approach. The document is based on the findings of the SALUS project. It describes the components and interfaces for the interim SALUS Security and Privacy Architecture considering possible roadmaps for the evolution of PPDR networks.

PSCE White Papers aim to present complex public safety communication issues in a concise way. The White Papers take the form of short reports, usually not longer than one page, and can be useful in understanding a common issue, solving a problem, as well as making a decision. The PSCE White Papers can be found in the Library section of the PSCE website.

All PSCE White Papers are available here.