Interoperability of Databases and Interstate Trust: a Perilous Combination for Fundamental Rights

On 14 May 2019, the Council adopted two regulations, Regulation 2019/817 and Regulation 2019/818, establishing a framework for the interoperability between EU information systems in the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice. The new rules on interoperability, upon which the European Parliament agreed in April 2019, will allegedly provide for easier information sharing and ‘considerably improve security in the EU, allow for more efficient checks at external borders, improve detection of multiple identities and help prevent and combat illegal migration’. All this, according to the press release of the Council, ‘while safeguarding fundamental rights’. It is questionable whether this commitment made by the EU legislator is justified.

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The Schrems Judgement: New Challenges for European and international companies

In Schrems the CJEU has declared the Safe-Harbor-Decision of the European Commission invalid whilst strengthening the EU fundamental rights. The Court has done so with astonishing clarity. Although the matter is about Facebook Ireland’s transfer of data to servers of Facebook, Inc. in the U.S., it, ironically, will not be Facebook but companies of the European “old economy” that will have to face severe consequences in the aftermath of this landmark judgement. In many cases of every day data processing in the business world, the consent of data subjects will be impossible to obtain. It is at the same time nearly impossible to prevent data to be transferred outside the EU. Hence, a vast number of data processing operations which were lawful before Schrems are now illegal.

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