Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80-99)

Professor Kees Groenendijk, Ms Evelien Brouwer, Professor Theo de Roos and Professor Elspeth Guild

18 OCTOBER 2006

  Q80  Lord Avebury: No, I am talking more about the process, the existence of the multidisciplinary group on organised crime and its role in examining the European data protection framework as it applies to SIS II.

  Professor Guild: I would like to begin with a couple of comments in answer to that question. The first question was as to how these groups came into existence. I think that one of the grave difficulties we have in a variety of EU venues is a lack of a legal base in the introduction of different bodies. We create bodies and subsequently we may or may not create a legal base to which that corresponds. We have had this with the police chiefs. In fact, CEPOL had no legal base when it was set up. Yet it is all over the place, it happens endlessly, and I think you have identified one of those difficulties. We set up a body. Its membership is decided on a mix of political and executive decisions, and it is then let loose on a subject matter without any self-evident controls around what it is supposed to be doing, why it is there or to whom it is responsible, as one would expect if it had a proper legal base.

  Q81  Chairman: Professor de Roos, you are welcome. I am sorry that you have had trouble getting here, but we are extremely grateful to you and to your colleagues for coming from Holland this morning for this session. I will now move on to the second question that I want to ask which is, does the agreed text of the regulation satisfy the concern about the accountability of the agency to be established to run SIS II? What other specific rules should be adopted to ensure accountability and should this agency have competence to run any other EU agencies? Who would like to have a shot at that?

  Ms Brouwer: As you know, the management authority is now only a proposal and there is provision within the Decision and the Regulation that the Commission will publish a legal proposal within two years after their entry into force. We think there are only a few provisions which provide safeguards for the functioning of this management authority. It only allows the European Data Protection Supervisor to supervise the data processing that will be performed by this management authority. The view of the Meijers Committee is that there are only minor safeguards at this moment. We have of course to wait for the Commission's proposal on this issue. The four aspects which we think should be regulated in general, not only for the management authority for SIS but also for other independent agencies who are working within the framework of the EU, are firstly that there should be full competence of the European Court of Justice to assess the legitimacy and the lawfulness of acts performed by those authorities. The decision making and documents which those agencies and authorities are producing should be transparent. The same transparency rules for EU institutions should also apply for those institutions. With regard to liability, I think it is very important that there should be very accurate provisions on dealing with individuals harmed by data processing caused by the functioning of the management authority. There must be a good provision on assuring the liability of the management authority. There should be no gaps in legal protection.

  Professor Guild: On behalf of ILPA, I would like to add a couple of points to what Evelien has said which we very much endorse. The first issue which concerns us is accountability to whom? What kind of accountability are we talking about? Is it political accountability, legal accountability, accountability to the police and immigration authorities, accountability to the data protection officers, or accountability to the individual? We have a variety of questions around accountability. We are very concerned that the weakest of that group of different categories of persons to whom accountability may be allocated are the individuals whose information is in the system, and therefore we would like to see strengthening of the measures of accountability to them. At the moment, it seems that there will be an indirect system of accountability via first of all a subcontracted agency, and the agency will be subject to the European Data Protection Supervisor and the national supervisors at the national level. We wonder whether this is really good enough to protect the individual.

  Q82  Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: In your written evidence, you say quite strongly that you are concerned about the setting up of new agencies. What would be your preferred way of managing the system?

  Professor Groenendijk: As regards the Meijers Committee, it would make things a great deal clearer and solve a number of problems that Ms Brouwer just mentioned if SIS was under the Commission. If it was a Community agency, then all the rules on remedies, liabilities, and the general rules on transparency of the documents would apply, and I think that is exactly the only reason why it is outside! That is why we started talking about Schengen in 1990, because it was kept away from the control by the parliaments and by the judges. That is the only real reason that I can mention.

  Q83  Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: As I understand it, the Commission is going to start off running it; is that correct?

  Professor Groenendijk: My impression from the documents I have read is that it will be an ongoing battle between the Member States and the Commission and this is a phase in that battle. I hope that, in the end, the same will happen that happened with the Schengen that was incorporated in the EU Treaty. For reasons both of efficiency and democracy it will be good, but this will be a long battle.

  Q84  Earl of Listowel: Please forgive me if I am asking this question out of turn, but we heard last week that there is a team looking across Europe at how different countries access the information and checking that the access to information is secure. I think that you also said in your evidence that you would be interested in seeing better monitoring of who accessed the information, how often it is accessed and so on. That may come in our later questions but it does seem to bite on the accountability of what happens with SIS. Are you able to help me with information on those teams and how effective they are in actually checking that?

  Ms Brouwer: I must admit that this is new information for me, so thank you for providing this information. I am not aware of teams looking at different countries. I think it would be a good opportunity if it is happening at this moment. I am only aware of the Joint Supervisory Authority which is functioning at this moment for the Schengen Information System, which has made some inquiries through the data protection authorities of the different countries into Article 96 on the actual input in SIS. And now there is an inquiry into Article 99 on the alerts for special searches. If I had come across the teams you are mentioning, I would be able to help you but...

  Q85  Lord Corbett of Castle Vale: Would you tell us your particular concerns about the interoperability of databases.

  Ms Brouwer: I can be very brief. There are two major concerns. The first concern is that it is absolutely contrary to the purpose limitation principle, which sounds like the old-fashioned principle of data protection but I think the data protection authorities agree with us that it is a central basic principle of data protection law, and it is important for protecting the transparency of the use of databases holding personal information. It is important for balancing the powers between different institutions and important for giving the person concerned information on how his or her information is used. I think that allowing interoperability is going contrary to this principle and it is a very critical argument. The second major concern is that it will affect the reliability of the information and it includes a risk of contaminated information. It is not very difficult to understand that, if you allow many organisations to use the same information and the same information goes through one database to another database, then different databases will become contaminated if the basic information is not reliable, and we know from the practice of the Schengen Information System that the information which is reported by the different national authorities at the local level is not reliable all the time. I am very concerned about this principle of interoperability and about the proposals stating that we should connect Eurodac with VIS and VIS with the Schengen Information System, and to Europol, and Europol can transfer data further to third parties and third countries. I think that is a major problem for my Committee.

  Q86  Lord Corbett of Castle Vale: We have problems with the accuracy and motivation of the police national computer. There is a high level of inaccuracy in those records.

  Ms Brouwer: Exactly, and that is what you hear from all the countries. In France, there are complaints about the reliability of immigration data bases and, in Germany, the Federal Police are laughing about the immigration administration because everybody knows that the immigration administration is not very reliable and causes problems. In the Netherlands, we have the same problems. Thinking about the impact of the Schengen Information System II, which will be applicable in more than 28 states now that we have Bulgaria and Romania joining the European Union, ,I think it is a very important problem.

  Professor Groenendijk: From the study which Ms Brouwer is writing right now for her PhD, it appears that in France 40 per cent of cases where the French Data Protection Authority checked individual registrations in SIS they were either incorrect or unlawful; and, in the reports of the Data Protection Authorities of the German Länder, the percentage of registrations which were unlawful, records that were not allowed under the present Schengen rules, included between 10 to 50 per cent. of the data. The present proposal is to use these kind of data for completely different purposes with far-reaching consequences for individuals. I think it is a risky affair.

  Chairman: Professor de Roos, I should have repeated what I said at the beginning of the session before you were here and that is, please, feel free to intervene whenever you want or at least to invite yourself to intervene. The reference to incorrect data takes us straight on to the next question about biometrics.

  Q87  Lord Dubs: From the written evidence, it seems to be your view that the use of biometrics as identifiers should be ruled out entirely, that is identified on a one to many comparison basis. I looked at the evidence and you seem to have two sets of concerns, one is about technical reliability—or should I say technical unreliability—and, secondly, privacy and human rights concerns. Would it not be enough to have adequate safeguards for the use of biometrics? Secondly, do you have similar concerns about the use of biometrics for verification, that is to say on a one to one comparison?

  Ms Brouwer: Thank you for the question. The two concerns you quoted were its reliability and the human rights impact. I think I could add a third one which is the security of biometrics. I think there are those three problems. As regards the reliability, many data protection authorities and also IT specialists agree with us that it is not clear at this moment which procedure of biometrics—fingerprints, iris scan or facial recognition—gives us the maximum guarantee of reliability which will be 100 per cent right. A one to two per cent false rejection rate or false acceptance rate for biometrics is considered normal and this means that introducing these data into databases where the data on millions of individuals will be stored, will mean that a huge number of individuals will be permanently accepted or rejected wrongfully. The second problem is the security of biometrics. It has been proved last summer by IT specialists that biometrics are not secure; they can be stolen or there can be fraudulent use of biometrics by criminal organisations or by other specialists. There could be unauthorised access to the documents on which biometrics are stored. I think that, as long as those problems remain unsolved, it is too early to think about safeguards. I think that you should first of all be sure that biometrics are reliable and secure, before developing a central database of biometrics. However, we have thought about possible safeguards because we know that the policy will not stop by introducing biometrics. We agree that there should be safeguards like fallback procedures if somebody is rejected at the borders. Also, there should be a procedure whereby one decision that your biometrical features do not match the registered data, is not enough to deny someone their rights. But we have a principal objection against the decision to start running the central database for biometrics and then say that the safeguards will come afterwards. We agree with those institutions and specialists who say, "No, first think about what you are doing and then start applying it in practice".

  Q88  Lord Dubs: I understand what you are saying in relation to the use as identifiers, that is to say one to many comparisons, but if you are looking at the use of biometrics for verification of other information, then surely some of your objections would have less substance.

  Ms Brouwer: I agree with you that it makes a lot of difference what kind of use is intended with biometrics. Is it just for verifying whether the person carrying the identity card or passport matches the information stored on the card. or only to see if the person who is presenting himself is the same as registered on the card? It might be that a central registration in future provides an extra tool to safeguard just for this verification: is this the same person as the person who has applied for a visa or for a passport? But in the case of the Schengen Information System II, the policy makers are considering using biometrics as a search tool and I think that will have a much larger impact. It is not one to many, it is just using biometrics for searching in different databases, "is the person we are looking for registered somewhere?". If there are problems on security and reliability, I think that is a much larger concern.

  Q89  Lord Dubs: It is going beyond the bounds of our inquiry, but you seemed to have undermined the American policy on biometric information on passports and British Government policy on identity cards, but that is not what we are talking about today.

  Professor Guild: May I add a couple of extra comments that are from a slightly different angle for ILPA. The first is, what are we seeking with biometrics? What we are seeking with biometrics is in fact security about the individual and the document. The difficulty with that is that it is a never ending search. You will never get to the point where you are absolutely satisfied, no matter what biometrics you use. You can even use DNA but there is always the doubt; there is always the search for further security that the person holding the document is indeed the person who is entitled to it. We could get to the point where we are tattooing people's arms but do we want to go there? Is this what we want to do? Do we want to say, we are willing to accept a degree of insecurity as regards the identity of the person in the document? I think that is the first fundamental question which we have to answer.

  Q90  Lord Avebury: You have some experience with Eurodac on false policies. If we look at the number of occasions somebody has been wrongly identified as of interest to the immigration authorities because of incorrect recognition of his fingerprints on Eurodac, then that would presumably feed across. You talk about a 1 or 2 per cent error but I did not think that it was anything like as high as that in the case of fingerprints.

  Ms Brouwer: I am not aware of the percentage of mistaken identifications in Eurodac.

  Q91  Lord Avebury: Would it not be important to look at that?

  Ms Brouwer: Yes, I agree that it would be very important. I think the problem with using biometrics in the field of immigration law is that differentiating between applying biometrics for the use of EU citizens for their passports and identity cards or for controlling immigrants, for questions such as: "Do we want him or not? Can we expel him?" Immigrants are not so aware of their rights and the possibility of going to appeal and say, "You must be wrong, I am not the same person". Somebody using a false passport is another problem. I am not aware that Eurodac will give you the percentage of people who have caused this problem of wrong identification.

  Chairman: I should perhaps say on this as on any other question, if any of you think when you see the transcript that there are additional points that you ought to make to us in writing, we would be very happy to receive them.

  Q92  Lord Avebury: I would like to ask one more question on that topic. Surely, if there were false identification of people as being of interest to the immigration authorities, then we would have known about it, because those people, having been refused entry at a particular border, would be vociferous in their complaints about the false identification. It is almost certain that each individual case of error under Eurodac would be shown up through the complaints which the individual or their representative would no doubt make to people like us or their Member of Parliament.

  Professor Guild: The poor people who are in the Eurodac database are amongst the most vulnerable who exist and their access to lawyers or to anyone who will help them to make a complaint is extremely weak. If we take the example of a case which came before the High Court here, it was after a number of similar cases where the UK authorities had sent back to other Member States, particularly to Italy, asylum seekers for whom they said they had a positive match of fingerprints, and they sent back the wrong person, and the Italian process is that the person cannot then make an application for asylum because they are excluded because they have made an application in the UK, therefore they are excluded from any benefits. These people were camping in the grounds of the Italian Refugee Council and it was after numerous of these cases that finally the Italian Refugee Council got in touch with the Refugee Council here and they started a case in the High Court to require the Government to bring these people back to the UK. Yes, the fingerprints matched in the system, but the individual who was sent back was a different one. They just picked up anybody out of detention and sent them back—"Oh, you are a Somali, Mr Ali, we will send you back, you must be the right one"! It went on for months. Within the system, even with the fingerprints matching, the wrong person can be sent back regularly. These individuals have so little access. Most of them are sent outside the Member State with summary procedures. How many complaints will get to you?

  Q93  Lord Dubs: I would like to move on to another question altogether. With regard to the draft regulation, you seem concerned by the vague criteria for the inclusion of data concerning third country nationals to be refused entry, which you say will continue to lead to different interpretations from one Member State to another. What specific harmonised rules should govern the grounds for issuing alerts on third country nationals to prevent this?

  Professor Groenendijk: As to the last question, the Commission originally made a proposal to limit the possibility to register third country nationals in the Schengen Information System for certain specific crimes only and, from my recollection, they referred to the list of crimes under the European Arrest Warrant. If you limit registration to certain specific crimes, it will be much clearer than now. The only threshold is a maximum penalty of one year threatened under national law for any infringement of immigration law. I am afraid that all of us have once upon a time infringed the immigration legislation of another country. I think that specification would be the answer. As to the problem with third country nationals, I think there are basically three categories. First, the third country national family members of EU migrants who have under community law a right to live with their EU family members in a Member State. In Article 15(a) of the proposed Regulation, there has been a solution along the lines of the ECJ judgment in Commission v Spain that was decided earlier this year, where Spain had refused a visa and the right of entry to two third country nationals who are family members of EU citizens.because they were registered in SIS by Germany. Spain was told that it should have used its SIRENE contacts to check whether there was a real danger serious enough to refuse the entry or the visa. This might be a practical solution in visa cases but in practice it does not work at borders. Before the border authorities have contacted their capital and the capital has contacted the other capital and they have contacted the SIRENE Bureau, many flights will have gone and many more hours will have passed. For this limited group it is a solution, but I think there is a second group of third country nationals who, under the new directives on legal migration, especially the family reunification directive and the one on long-term residents, have a Community law right to remain in the Member State. This group is completely disregarded. In our view, they should be excluded from the personal scope of this Regulation altogether because what you will get is people, third country nationals, who will have a long-term residence permit under the directive and then they can still be registered sooner or later in the SIS II. At the time of drafting that article, the granting of residence permits and the withdrawal on public order grounds was still a completely national issue which it no longer is, because now both the issue of granting or withdrawal of residence permits for family members and for long-term residents are community law matters. So, what we are in fact getting are two sets of rules and criteria, one in this new Regulation with very low thresholds and, in the directives, you grant a right with only very limited possibilities to withdraw this title and to refuse people at a border and this is completely disregarded. I think the drafters have forgotten this category. More than half the third country nationals live in the Member States or at least in a Member State where those directives apply, so it is a pretty large group. There is a nice rule in Article 20AA of the SIS II Regulation which has been more or less copied from Eurodac which says as soon as a third country national acquires the nationality of one of the Member States, the Member State who made the registration in SIS should take care that these data are deleted; but who knows? In Eurodac, there is a rule that as soon as a third country national gets a residence status or the nationality of a Member State, his data should be removed from the system, but the national authorities which grant nationality never think of warning another Member State that they should remove their alert. This is a provision that looks very interesting and fair but there is actually no implementation of it. Large numbers of third country nationals are registered in SIS and will be registered in the SIS II. We see that already right now Member States have a problem removing from SIS data on people who are notified as being EU nationals from the system. We have a system that failed to produce the data that they are EU nationals and thus should be removed, but of the large group of new EU citizens, nobody will know, and the system surely will not know that they are EU nationals and should be out of the scope of the system. On that point, the draft regulation is really deficient in our view.

  Q94  Earl of Listowel: Have you any comments on the listing of third country nationals, including on foreign policy sanction lists, such as the UN Security Council travel ban, and do you have any further comments on family members of EU citizens? I think you did approach that fairly thoroughly in your last response.

  Professor de Roos: We are fairly concerned about that, if you recall this example of the United Nations terrorist lists. There is no control on that whatsoever and that is a huge problem. There was a judgment of the European Court of Justice on 12 July 2006 in which the Court made clear that Member States should provide for accessible remedies to individuals to make it possibly to apply for a re-examination of listing by the Sanction Committee. I think that is essential. There has to be a control and there has to be an effective remedy. If you miss that then misrepresentation of this sort of information could play a role. Maybe I could put this in a somewhat broader context. We are wrestling in our country, but I think the same goes for all countries of the European Union, with the problem of information stemming from the security services and information gathered by judicial authorities. Now we have some brand new legislation which is not working yet but will be able to be used in our country to make it possible to interrogate witnesses against the accused, witnesses who are working for the security services. It is a hell of a job to make that compatible with Article 6 of the Human Rights Convention, the fair trial provision. There has been an effort to make that control a little bit possible, but the problem remains that the function of security service information is completely different from the function of judicial information. Judicial information is gathered in order to find the truth and then put the accused to trial, and see to it that there is a fair trial as well, of course. That is one thing. The other thing is that for the security services it is not really important for them to go into procedural truth-finding, but they want to know what is going on and work on it. In the end, if there is a link, if there is a serious risk of committing an offence or making plans to commit a serious offence, then of course the security services have a duty to get the information through to the judicial authorities. That is in an extreme situation. We have had some trials in our country and our experience is that criminal trials in which security service information plays a necessary role are quite hard to handle. We have had acquittals and now there are some procedures in which the idea is to use information gathered by the security services. As this is not in itself reliable information or information that can be used in a fair trial. That is a general problem which also plays a role, I think, in this context.

  Q95  Lord Avebury: You made a comment about remedies for individuals put on this list. Can I ask about a particular case of persons who are declared non-conducive to the public good, and I believe there is a category similar to that in many other European countries, but that is how we describe it in our law? Those people never have a right to challenge their inclusion on the list which is promulgated by the Home Office, and I presume the same is true in France, Germany, et cetera. Are you suggesting that they should now have such a right as part of the Schengen system?

  Professor Groenendijk: I would respectfully disagree. I think this category is a typically British one, at least under the system of immigration control. I know that in our country under the immigration legislation, if any non-citizen that is on the point of being expelled or of having his residence permit withdrawn, even if the legislator has tried to reduce his remedies there is access to court. The civil courts in our country have accepted the task of allowing at least one form of a day in court in these kinds of cases. There is always a remedy, either in immigration law or in the general administrative law, and if both fail there is a remedy in the normal civil court. It is not possible for the Dutch Government to expel somebody without him having at least an hour or so to apply before a judge.

  Q96  Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: Are you aware of SIS immigration data used by relevant authorities in other Member States for the purpose of determining the merit of asylum applications and, if so, what are your concerns about this?

  Professor Groenendijk: In order to be able to answer this question I contacted the Dutch Refugee Council, and since they were unable to be of help I contacted a colleague in Austria. She gave almost the same answer I would have given for the Netherlands, that the Dutch authorities deny that they do so, and it is unclear whether they actually do it. I could mention two occasions in an asylum procedure where authorities would be interested in checking with the Schengen Information System first for the application of the Dublin Regulation. Is there another country that has already registered? Of course, it is unclear whether it would be a useful idea, because this is not mentioned under the Dublin Regulation as proof of an asylum seeker having been in the other Member States that have registered him in the Schengen Information System. The other moment is at the very end, at the moment when the immigration authorities are on the point of granting refugee status. Then I think, implicitly under the Schengen Implementing Agreement, they are under a duty to check whether this person, the third country national, has been registered by another Member State, because then either the alert has to be removed or the residence permit has to be refused. That is in Article 25 of the Schengen Implementing Agreement. I think the Commission originally also considered the possibility of expanding the access by the asylum authorities to SIS, but I think Member States now are more interested in using VIS for this purpose because evidently there will be a lot more data, a lot more persons who will be registered under VIS than under SIS. That is also the answer from my Austrian colleague, that for the time being Member States do not want to have access for asylum cases through the SIS because they are thinking about VIS. But this does not say anything about the actual practice whether they are using it right now for that purpose.

  Q97  Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: But you do not have concerns about their use of VIS rather than SIS?

  Professor Groenendijk: Our concerns would be the same as already have been formulated by Ms Brouwer, that the data are so unreliable. I think that makes the system also not very effective for Dublin purposes because the data in the system are so unreliable.

  Q98  Earl of Caithness: Can I follow up what Professor de Roos was saying about the security services? There seems to be a disagreement between the Council and the European Parliament on this. Could we have a bit more of your thoughts on whether the SIS II data should be available to the security services, and do you differentiate between the security services in the Schengen countries, the security services in the non-Schengen but EU countries, and what I would call the third parties, all the other security services? Do you envisage a situation emerging with SIS II which happened with the similar system where the CIA would get involved with our friendly Belgians?

  Professor de Roos: As I have already many concerns about the use by Schengen countries of this information and the combination of criminal law information with security service information, the more I have concerns about the CIA having access. I have the impression that the way the CIA works is rather rough as compared to our European methods. For instance, we have FBI officials working with the knowledge of our judicial authorities. That is okay, but then immediately you see that the FBI methods are dramatically rougher than not only the continental but also the British ways of working.

  Ms Brouwer: I am concerned about the proposal. I am aware that Germany is now trying to include it in a compromise text as agreed upon by the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament. There should be access for internal security agencies not only to criminal law information but also to information on immigrantsI think it is institutionally wrong to include this information in the Decision as it will concern the use of information which is regulated in the Regulation. Secondly, exactly as Professor de Roos and Professor Groenendijk are saying, internal security agencies using this information which is stored in SIS for other purposes cannot be further controlled. Why? Because we accept that there is less control on how security agencies are working. This means that you lose control on how the information is used. With regard to your question on the use by third parties, bilaterally information is already shared between security agencies and between the police and other authorities in the United States or other third countries. One of the problems with the Schengen Information System, and the problem we were referring to at the beginning, is that there is no transparent all-round view of what we are dealing with. For example, Member States have readily provided Europol with direct access to SIS information and we know also that Europol already has bilateral agreements with the United States and authorities in the United States for further data processing, so it is very easy to see that information stored in SIS II will find its way to the United States. It is one of the problems which should be dealt with more elaborately within the national parliaments but also at the level of the European Parliament.

  Professor Guild: May I add a comment from a slightly different perspective? The first issue which one would have to accept is that if an individual's information is in the SIS II that will be a presumption that that person has done something wrong. You have in all the mechanisms by which the individual is put into the system a presumption against them. Once you have a presumption against the individual, the wider you spread the presumption around the world the worse the consequences are for that individual. We have already discussed the question of how you get into the SIS, and there have been substantial concerns raised about the extraordinarily flexibility of the criteria on the basis of which somebody may be registered in the SIS, and the very wide degree of discretion which is left to a particular Member State official to insert someone's information into the SIS. The consequences of that are amplified when that information is then passed around. We are concerned about two things in particular in relation to these databases. One is fishing and the other is data mining. One is going in and trying to find something about somebody and fishing around in different databases to pull out bits of information to construct some kind of a bigger picture of suspicion in order to justify or support concerns about an individual, and the other is having a profile of what you are looking for and seeing who out there fits that profile. Both of these techniques are very widely used by the security services. There are much greater limitations on these techniques within the police and judicial authorities. We have had the decision of the German Constitutional Court prohibiting the use of data mining, but security services, because of the consequences of the type of work they do, use (and probably use justifiably) these mechanisms, but then to give them access to a database which raises suspicions on very limited grounds seems to me to be an error.

  Q99  Earl of Caithness: How do you control it? Any suggestions?

  Professor Guild: How does one control data use? Quite simply—you state that they shall not have access. Access will be limited. This is one of the problems that we spoke about earlier, about interoperability, and, of course, the EU's principle of availability. Availability to whom and under what circumstances? These are issues which we have to be very careful about because they are at the heart of due process and democracy.

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