Cross-border co-operation in fight against terrorism and crime: Council publishes note on implementation of Prüm Decisions

The Council of the EU published in its Register a note by its General Secretariat, dated 3 September 2019, on the implementation of the provisions of the Prüm Decisions (Council Decision 2008/615/JHA and Council Decision 2008/616/JHA) on information exchange.

In accordance with Article 18(2) of Decision 2008/616/JHA, this note is prepared and kept up to date by the GSC. It sets out information provided by the member states through declarations or notifications made pursuant to the Prüm Decisions. The note is addressed to the Council Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX), in which experts from all member states and the European Commission, among others, discuss the implementation of the Prüm Decisions.

The Prüm Decisions aim to improve cross-border co-operation, particularly in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal immigration. They include provisions on information exchange which deal with:

  • The supply of information relating to major events and to prevent terrorist offences.
  • The automated searching of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data (finger or palm prints) and vehicle registration data (VRD).
  • Data protection.

Member states had to comply with the first and last categories of provisions by 26 August 2009 and with the automated searching provisions by 26 August 2011. Next to the technical implementation, member states have to fulfil a number of formal requirements.

The note provides:

  • An overview of the formalities to be complied with, the related documents and procedures.
  • An overview of the declarations made by member states according to the relevant provisions of the Prüm Decisions.
  • The state of play of implementation of the automated data exchange of DNA, fingerprint and VRD.

As regards the launch of automated data exchange with regard to DNA data in the UK, Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/968 was published in the Official Journal on 13 June 2019 (Legal update, Cross-border co-operation in fight against terrorism and crime: Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/968 on the launch of automated data exchange with regard to DNA data in the UK published in Official Journal and Council adopts other Prüm Decisions).

Source: Council: Public Register, Implementation of the provisions on information exchange of the “Prüm Decisions” (5322/4/19) (3 September 2019).

Theft, fraud and forgery offences

FCA speech on fight against fraud

On 5 September 2019, the FCA published a speech given by Charles Randell, FCA Chair, on the fight against fraud.

In his speech, Mr Randell explains that fraud is a devastating crime that has reached epidemic proportions. The FCA is committed to making all the changes necessary so it can be as good as it can be in contributing to the fight against scammers. It also continues to work on improving transparency and consumer understanding of the risk, to drive down the harm caused by fraudsters. The FCA can and must get better. However, Mr Randell believes that the FCA will be more effective if the system is more coherent. He considers how the system can be changed to make things better, focusing on three questions:

  • Whether policymakers do enough to embed thinking about the risk of skimming and scamming into the savings and investment policies they make. Lessons need to be learnt from how the pension freedom policy was executed. Major changes in policy like this need a substantial period of planning and testing, so that all necessary safeguards against fraud are integrated before the policy is launched.
  • How the risk of confusion about what is and is not regulated and protected can be reduced. Mr Randell believes that the financial promotions regime is “ripe” for re-examination. Unless the issue or approval of financial promotions is made a regulated activity, he is not confident that the financial promotion regime can provide much better protection than it does at present (which is not enough).
  • How corporate enablers can be made to play their part in remedying the harm they create. Firms reasonably question why they have to pick up the bill for fraud in the system when so much of it would not be possible without data breaches and other actions by businesses outside the financial sector. As a minimum, the big tech companies should take down suspected fraudulent content immediately when asked to do so by the authorities. They should also use their significant resources to work with law enforcement and regulators to develop algorithms and machine-learning tools to identify potentially fraudulent content.

Mr Randell notes that a recent government white paper raises the need for more action to prevent a range of online harms, but does not cover online financial scams, despite them being so devastating. He believes policy on online harms should go wider.

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