Wednesday, February 20, 2008

EU: Big Brother At The Borders

EU: Big Brother At The Borders

Some new EU security measures may carry concerns for personal privacy since they may enable public authorities to effortlessly shift from one pan-EU databank to another to track the movements of individuals.

By Brooks Tigner in Brussels for ISN Security Watch (20/02/08)

A profound debate will soon unfold in Brussels' decision-making circles on policy choices that will shape the EU's frontiers - figuratively and literally - in ways unimaginable a generation ago. If enacted, these will pry yet another chunk of national authority away from one of basic characteristics that defines the nation-state: its borders.

What's at stake

Frattini's package of ideas is sweeping in its reach. It calls for:

  • A substantial increase in the role and powers of Frontex, the EU's border management agency

  • Creation of a "European Border Surveillance System" - or EUROSUR - to prevent unauthorized border crossings, reduce loss of life at sea of illegal immigrants and combat against cross-border crime

  • Introduction of a new entry/exit system to electronically record the arrival and exit dates of all third-country nationals moving in and out of the Schengen area (which comprises nearly all EU member states)

  • Creation of an electronic travel authorization (ETA) system to allow accelerated entry-exit via automatic gates for EU citizens and trusted third-country nationals

  • Fusing together of national civil and military maritime security players across the 27 member states to forge an integrated operational picture for pan-EU maritime domain awareness, based on multiple detection-and-reconnaissance platforms such as satellites, unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles and littoral radar stations

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