Money laundering: data protection for suspicious activity reports - European Union Committee Contents


Information Commissioner's report to the House of Lords European Union Committee on SOCA's operation and use of the ELMER database

You will remember that the Home Affairs Sub-Committee of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union carried out an inquiry last year into the part played by the EU in countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism. As a former President of the FATF you kindly gave evidence to that inquiry. It resulted in the report Money laundering and the financing of terrorism (19th Report, Session 2008-09, HL Paper 132).

You will recall that the Committee was concerned about the width of access to ELMER, the database of suspicious activity reports kept by SOCA. We recommended that the Information Commissioner should review and report on the operation and use of this database. The Information Commissioner has now completed this review, and has reported to the Committee. We are most grateful to him for this review, which seems to justify our own view that the database is not fully compliant with the Data Protection Act or the Human Rights Act, and that steps could and should be taken to remedy this.

We intend to make a brief report to the House of Lords in January to which we will append the Information Commissioner's report. However the majority of his recommendations are addressed to SOCA and to the Government. I therefore attach a copy of his report to enable you to consider his recommendations. I look forward to hearing in the course of January your reaction to them.

15 December 2010        ROPER

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