Immigration and Privacy in the Law of the EU: The Case of Databases
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The past three decades have been marked by the proliferation of highly sophisticated pan-European databases processing a wide range of personal data collected by different categories of third-country nationals. At present, three databases are fully operational; the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac, which largely target ‘unwanted’ irregular migrants, visa applicants and applicants for international protection respectively. The momentum for immigration databases is currently high, as in addition to significant reforms to the legal regime of the existing schemes, the EU legislator envisages the setting up of an Entry/Exit System, as well as databases for residence permits, long-stay visas and travel authorisations. This thesis examines the privacy concerns raised by the establishment and operation of EU immigration databases. Rather than viewing information processing through the lens of EU data protection law, it is argued that the right to private life, as enshrined in Articles 7 EUCFR and 8 ECHR, provides more holistic protection to individuals. In this context, this thesis provides a typology of standards for compliance with privacy on the basis of the jurisprudence of the ECtHR and CJEU. Having set the theoretical foundations of the study, the legal framework of the aforementioned information systems is analysed and evaluated in light of the right to private life. It is submitted that the collection and further processing of everyday personal information and biometric data -which are sensitive in nature- constitutes a disproportionate form of surveillance of movement, which allows constructing profiles of third-country nationals, recreating their travel routes and eventually deterring and obstructing their mobility. Law enforcement access to these systems constitutes a separate limitation to privacy, which, albeit not taking place on a routine basis, poses grave proportionality concerns.
- Theses