To fulfil the obligations under the Data Protection Act, the Commissioner is required to collaborate with supervisory authorities of other countries to the extent necessary for the performance of his duties, in particular by exchanging all useful information, in accordance with any convention to which is a party or other international obligation.
To honour this international commitment, the Commissioner attends and contributes in European and international meetings and conferences, which are:
Article 29 Data Protection Working Party
The Working Party has been established by Article 29 of Directive 95/46/EC. It is the independent EU Advisory Body on Data Protection and Privacy. Its tasks are laid down in Article 30 of Directive 95/46/EC and in Article 14 of Directive 97/66/EC.
The Working Party was set up to achieve several primary objectives:
} To provide expert opinion from member state level to the Commission on questions of data protection.
} To promote the uniform application of the general principles of the Directives in all Member States through co-operation between data protection supervisory authorities.
} To advise the Commission on any Community measures affecting the rights and freedoms of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and privacy.
} To make recommendations to the public at large, and in particular to Community institutions on matters relating to the protection of persons with regard to the processing of personal data and privacy in the European Community.
The Commissioner is an active member of the Article 29 Working Party. Click here to access the documents adopted by the Article 29 WP.
Malta, being a party to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention ETS no.108), is a member of the consultative committee (T-PD) set up in terms of Chapter V of the Convention, which meets regularly in January and June, and is entrusted inter alia to make proposals to facilitate or improve the application of the convention and to suggest amendments to the convention.
International Conference on Privacy and Personal Data Protection
The conference is attended by Data Protection Commissioners from around the globe where data protection issues are discussed on an international level. The Commissioner is accredited as a member of this group.
33rd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners
Mexico City, 2-3 November 2011
Conference of European Data Protection Authorities
The Commissioner is a member of the conference of the European Data Protection Authorities, most commonly referred to as the Spring Conference. One of the most important tasks of the European Data Protection Authorities consists in advising the authorities involved in legislative matters on data protection issues, by pointing out the risks that legislative initiatives might entail and by proposing alternatives which would be more respectful of individual's rights with regard to the processing of their personal data.
Case Handling Workshop
The Office participates in the Case Handling Workshop which meets twice a year. The working group was established by the Article 29 Working Party, and discusses inter alia complaints and current issues experienced by European Data Protection Authorities. The sharing of cases in relation to a uniform application of the data protection directive creates the right environment for the authorities in their interpretations of domestic legislations. The working group reports directly to the Article 29 Working Party.
Joint Supervisory Authorities
The Commissioner is a member of the Eurojust Supervisory Body, of the Europol Joint Supervisory Body and its Appeals Committee, the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority and in the Customs Supervisory Authority.
The Joint Supervisory Body of Europol
The Joint Supervisory Body is responsible with reviewing Europol's activities and ensure that the rights of the individual are not violated by the storage, processing and utilisation of data held by Europol. One way in which the JSB fulfils this general task is by carrying out inspections of Europol.
Under the Europol Convention the JSB is also vested with responsibility to consider whether Europol is following the principles of data protection in a number of specific areas, such as the opening of specific analysis files, the transmission of data originating from Europol, the implementation and interpretation of the Europol Convention, analysing the rules governing the transmission of personal data by Europol to third bodies and non-Member States and drawing up harmonised proposals for common solutions to existing problems.
The JSB is responsible for safeguarding the rights individuals have in relation to their personal information. This includes considering the appeals of individuals who have requested access to their information but who are not satisfied with Europol's response.
The JSB Europol is composed of up to two representatives from the data protection authorities in each
State . Each representative shall have an alternate member.
To ensure that the JSB remains a transparent body, the Europol Convention requires the JSB to publish an activity report at regular intervals.
Our office is also involved in the coordinated supervision of Eurodac, which is an information system set up for the purpose of identifying the
State responsible for an asylum application lodged within the European Union, and in order to speed up the asylum procedure. The system enables the identification of asylum seekers and persons who have illegally crossed an external border of the European Union. The system allows Member States, through comparison of fingerprints, to verify whether an asylum seeker or foreign national, found irregularly present within the community has previously claimed asylum in another
State . In this manner, asylum shop around in other EU countries after having already been rejected in one
State can be avoided.
In accordance with the Eurodac Regulation, all asylum applicants over the age of 14 should have their fingerprints taken when they request asylum. These fingerprints are sent electronically to Eurodac’s Central Unit, hosted within the European Commission. The system compares the fingerprints with those already stored in the database, enabling the authorities to check if the applicant had already submitted an asylum request in another
The Eurodac Supervision is carried out centrally, by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), who is the competent authority to monitor the Central Unit, while at the national level, the data protection authorities of each participating state are responsible to oversee the collection, use and transmission of data occurring in their country.