Tech & Rights

EU Readies Biometric Database for Convicted Third-Country Nationals

A proposal for a new EU criminal records system for third-country nationals will move ahead after a key committee clarifies its position.

by Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten

Centralised database

The European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee (LIBE) on 25 January adopted its position on the proposed European Criminal Records Information System for Third-Country Nationals, which will be a centralised EU database holding identity data on non-EU nationals convicted in a member state.

This will allow national authorities to see which member states hold information on previous convictions of non-EU nationals, to whom they will then be able to make a request for that information.

The LIBE committee report will serve as the Parliament's position for negotiations with the Council.

Facial images & fingerprints

The committee favours gathering fingerprints for inclusion in the database only when foreseen under national law (Amendment 28), while the Commission's proposal and the Council's position would like to make the gathering and storage of fingerprints mandatory for all crimes. A similar provision has been inserted by the LIBE committee in relation to facial images, although these are seen as optional in both the Commission's proposal and the Council's position.

The Parliament and the Council are both opposed to the Commission's proposed definition of third-country nationals (Amendment 23), which would have led to the inclusion of dual nationals (who hold EU and non-EU citizenship) in the database, were they to be convicted in an EU member state. However, data on such individuals is already available through the decentralised ECRIS, a network housing all member states' criminal records systems.

See: the Council's general approach (Council document 15102/17, pdf) and the Commission's proposal (COM(2017) 344 final, pdf)

Source: Statewatch

Information Hub

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps in the EU

Find out more