ETIAS AND THE CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
ETIAS is directly pertinent to the clause on freedom in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
According to Article 8 of the charter, “everyone has the right to the protection of personal data relating to him or her.”
To be in accordance with the charter, ETIAS travelers’ data must be processed only for specific, legitimate purposes and with their consent. Everyone has the right to see the information that has been gathered about them.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is an independent body responsible for ensuring that ETIAS upholds human rights to privacy and data protection.
ETIAS SMART BORDERS AND DATA PROTECTION
The Entry-Exit System (EES), which is also administered by eu-LISA, will be introduced at EU borders in the near future. The system collects information from third-country nationals who pass external Schengen Area borders.
Europe’s EES collects biometric information from ETIAS travellers and visa holders. Because a person’s face dimensions are unique and may be used to identify an individual, this information is deemed sensitive.
To guarantee that it complies with EU personal data protection law, EES has been evaluated and amended based on suggestions from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).
In the future, the rising use of artificial intelligence at EU border controls will pose new issues in terms of data privacy.
Because such data is so sensitive, authorities, particularly the EDPS, must guarantee that the fundamental right to data protection is upheld.
Infrastructure and information technology solutions cannot be developed unless complete compliance with EU data protection regulations is ensured.
ARE SCHENGEN SMART BORDERS BREACHING GDPR STANDARDS?
Europe prioritises data protection. This is the conclusion reached by citizens following the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
However, fresh worries have emerged regarding face recognition technology and the planned implementation of the ETIAS visa waiver.
This element of smart borders, according to EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, may violate Europe’s data protection standards.
In this regard, smart borders may encounter difficulties while collecting biometric data from non-EU nationals entering the Schengen Area.
The major concern revolves around GDPR sections 6 (Lawfulness of processing) and 9 (Processing of particular categories of personal data).
This is not the first setback for EU smart borders; since its proposal in February 2013, this technology solution for Schengen Member States’ external borders has raised concerns about the “overall feasibility of the proposed new system,” according to the Technical Study on Smart Borders published in 2014.
The European Union will provide additional information on how its Member States will address the difficulty of activating facial recognition systems and smart borders while still allowing data protection for all individuals, including those from outside the Schengen area.