Statewatch is one of the most prominent NGOs operating in the European plane. Established in 1991, it is an organization of lawyers, academics, journalists, researchers and other activists, focusing on the monitoring of activity of the Council of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA).

JHA is one of the 10 councils forming the Council of the European Union. It consists of the Ministers of Justice and the Ministers of Home Affairs of all the EU Member States. The Ministers of Justice work on judicial cooperation in civil and criminal cases, as well as in cases of fundamental rights violations. The Ministers of Home Affairs are responsible, among others, for immigration, border management and police cooperation.

The activity of JHA is intrinsically linked with fundamental rights. In this context, Statewatch establishes observatories from time to time. Every observatory focuses on a different topic of JHA’s activity. It records all the latest updates, collecting policy proposals, existing legislation, analytics, news from the media, campaigns, etc.

On 12 July, Statewatch announced the establishment of a new observatory. This observatory will record the latest updates on the interoperability of JHA’s databases. The notion of interoperability might seem hard to understand. However, it simply refers to the possibility of sharing data between two or more databases.

Statewatch warns that the interoperability of JHA’s databases will create a collective database, which will include all the existing and future JHA’s databases. Thus, it will be possible to combine biometric data (such as fingerprints) and other personal data, which are contained in JHA’s databases through one sole search.

As underlined by the Director of Statewatch, Mr. Tony Bunyan, “the time to ring the alarm bells is not when Big Brother is in place but when there are the first signs of its construction”.

Homo Digitalis will keep informing you on the latest news on the issue.You can read the press release by Statewatch here.