Privacy International defends the right to privacy across the world, and fights surveillance and other intrusions into private life by governments and corporations. Read more »


Council of Europe

Report
01-Jan-2011

The Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is distinct from the EU. In 1950 the Council of Europe adopted the European Convention on Human Rights, which is currently applicable in all EU member states.1 Article 8 paragraph 1 of the ECHR declares that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.2 Paragraph 2 states that the above mentioned right is not absolute in that it may be acceptable for public authorities to limit it when the "interference" is "in accordance with law" and "necessary in a democratic society" in pursuit of one or more of the following legitimate aims: "in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Blog
Dr Gus Hosein's picture

PI just received a response from Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland of the Council of Europe (CoE) stating that the CoE is refusing to start an investigation on the collection and storage of citizens biometric data by member states. On 31 March an international alliance of organisations and individuals lodged a petition calling on him to start such an indepth survey under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

In his answer, received this week, Secretary General Jagland mainly points at the CoE Resolution 1797, adopted in March 2011. He does stress the need to take steps to ensure that relevant existing legal frameworks, including European dataprotection Convention 108, be enhanced and modernised. However, the Secretary General doesn’t explain his refusal to investigate the legality of the current national biometric schemes himself. Instead Mr. Jagland refers to various other Council of Europe bodies, such as the Parliamentary Assembly, the commissioner for Human Rights and the Consultative Committee of Convention 108.

Blog
Dr Gus Hosein's picture

An international alliance of organisations and individuals from 27 countries has lodged a petition calling on the Council of Europe to start an indepth survey on the collection and storage of biometric data by member states.

European governments are increasingly demanding storage of biometric data (fingerprints and facial scans) from individuals. These include storage on contactless 'RFID' chips in passports and/or ID cards. Some are going even further by implementing database storage e.g. France, Lithuania and the Netherlands.

The alliance of more than 80 signatories has asked Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland of the Council of Europe to urgently request the countries involved to explain under Article 52 ECHR whether their national law on this subject is in line with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Subscribe to Council of Europe