The European Police Office Europol is a criminal information service at a European level that works for the national law enforcement authorities. Thus, Europol is not an operational service and does not have any investigative powers. Europol is to become the European centre for the storage and processing of information on international organised crime. The cooperation with and work of Europol has been set forth in the Europol Convention dated 24 July 1995 between the Member States of the European Union and in the related Implementation Agreements.
The Europol Information System
For the performance of its tasks, Europol is developing the Europol Information System (EIS), in which a limited number of relevant data – naturally including personal data – will be passed on by national police authorities. On the basis of these data, it is possible to quickly check which data are available where. Relevant data for Europol, for example, include data on unlawful drug trafficking, unlawful immigration, trade in human beings (including child pornography), motor vehicle crimes or terrorism.
Composition of the Europol GCA
The Europol GCA is composed of members from the national institutions charged with the protection of personal data in the different Member States of the European Union. In the Netherlands, this is the Dutch DPA.
Tasks and powers of the Europol GCA
The task of the Europol GCA is to supervise the work of Europol to prevent the rights of persons from being harmed by the processing of the personal data which Europol has at its disposal. The Europol GCA tests the legitimacy of Europol’s work methods and, if necessary, makes proposals for resolving problems.
The Europol GCA is authorised to receive all information from Europol that is required to properly perform its tasks. The Europol GCA is entitled to inspect all documents and files and has access to all official areas of Europol. In performing their tasks, the members of the supervisory body do not accept instructions from other institutions.
The Europol GCA guarantees the exercise of the right of inspection by citizens and therefore has an appeals committee. The task of this committee is to examine complaints submitted by citizens insofar as these relate to exercising the right of inspection and the correction or removal of data.
An appeal must be filed by submitting a written complaint to the European secretariat of the Europol GCA. This must be done within three months after the citizen has received a reply from Europol regarding his or her request to inspect, correct or remove data. If Europol fails to respond to the request, the appeal must be lodged within three months after expiry of the term in which Europol should have replied.
European secretariat Europol GCA
Europol, Schengen, Customs Data Protection Secretariat,
Council for the European Union
Rue de la Loi 175
Telephone: +32 (0)2 285 50 26