Data Protection and the European Police Office
The European Police Office, or "Europol", is established under the Europol Convention of 1995 to enable the European Union’s police authorities to cooperate more effectively in combating specific types of serious international crime, including drug trafficking, forgery of money, trafficking in human beings, trafficking in radioactive or nuclear substances and child pornography. Because such cooperation involves the sharing of sensitive information about individuals, a number of data protection safeguards are built into the Convention to ensure that people’s privacy rights will be properly taken into account.
It is important to note that Europol is not an executive police force, it has no prosecution function. Rather it facilitates the exchange of data between members; provides expertise, technical support and advice; generates strategic reports and provides operational analysis in support of Member States’ operations.
Apart from the data and services available to Member States, Europol also provides support to co-operation partners. Co-operation partners currently include Iceland, Norway and the United States of America.
Europol - Know your rights
The Europol Convention, which set up Europol and the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB), includes provisions relating to individuals' rights and the protection of the personal data that Europol collects and analyses.
The JSB has published this leaflet to give you information about Europol, its activities, and your rights.
The Europol Act, 1997, gives effect to the Convention in Irish law. Section 6 of the Europol Act confirms that the Data Protection Act, 1988, applies to the handling of personal data in the Europol context. Section 7 of the Europol Act designates the Data Protection Commissioner as the "national supervisory body" for Ireland for the purposes of the Europol Convention. This function involves monitoring the data-handling practices of (a) the national unit of An Garda Síochána (the Irish police service) which is established to communicate with Europol Headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands; and (b) the Garda liaison officers who are based in Europol Headquarters. Such monitoring includes on-site inspections and liaison with the Europol National Unit in order to offer appropriate guidance and advice.
The operations of Europol are also subject to supervision to ensure that data protection rules are complied with. This supervision is carried out by the Europol Joint Supervisory Body (JSB), which draws its membership from all of the national data protection authorities, including the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Two of the JSB’s main functions involve examining proposals from Europol to open new Analysis Work Files, and examining proposals from Europol to exchange personal data with overseas law enforcement authorities.
The JSB is also responsible for conducting inspections of Europol in order to determine compliance with the provisions of the Europol Convention. Please see link to "The fourth activity report of Joint Supervisory Body of Europol".The Appeals Committee of the JSB
Where a data subject has concerns about the manner in which Europol has responded to an access request, or to a request that information be corrected or deleted, the data subject may make a complaint to the appeals body of the Joint Supervisory Body. This right of appeal shall be notified to the data subject in response to these requests. The appeals body shall then investigate and determine if Europol had acted in accordance with relevant provisions in the Convention. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be final.Access Rights of data subjects in relation to Europol
Under Article 23 of the Europol Convention, an individual may ask the Data Protection Commissioner to ensure that the entry or communication of data to Europol and the consultation of the data by the Member State concerned are lawful.
Europol National Unit