Letter from Francis Aldhouse, Deputy Commissioner,
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, to Leigh Gibson,
Legal Assistant to the Select Committee on the European Union
Thank you for your fax of 15 March 2000.
I do not believe that matters have changed significantly
since the Commissioner's previous comments.
Of course the subject matter of this draft Convention
can be distinguished factually from other Third Pillar Conventions
which either establish new bodies or specific information databases.
Similarly, I accept that as a matter of fact European Union countries
have data protection legislation in force. I cannot, however,
be sure that it extends to protect all data that might be transferred
under this draft Convention because there is no binding EU or
Council of Europe requirement to apply the 1981 Data Protection
Convention to all information.
The Commissioner's criticisms remain first that
information to be transferred under the draft Convention should
be available for use only for the specific purpose for which it
was transferred and exceptional public interest purposes but not
for any Convention purpose whatsoever, and secondly the draft
Convention should include a requirement for Member States receiving
information under the Convention to apply to that information
substantive data protection rules derived from the 1981 Council
of Europe Convention or similar international instruments. Notwithstanding
the different subject matter of those conventions, drafting precedents
are readily to hand in the Europol, Schengen and Customs Information
17 March 2000