The Visa Information System (VIS), the Schengen Information System (SIS I and II) and the European Passenger Name Record (PNR), the EU Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme, Eurosur There is a proliferation of databases and seemingly technical projects to control the arrival to - and, soon, also the departure from - EU territory of non-European citizens. Aside from their cost, these "smart borders" - largely inspired by US anti-terrorist action in the wake of 11 September 2001 - pose serious problems in terms of private data protection, as well as non-discrimination on the basis of the nationality or ethnic group of foreigners. Such is the opinion recently presented by experts working on a study commissioned by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and published on its website. The EU, also affected by terrorist attacks on 11 March 2004 in Madrid and 7 July 2005 in London, started out by developing tools specifically for the Schengen area of free movement: the VIS requires fingerprints and biographical data from all candidates, while SIS and soon SIS II collect the data of foreigners who should be turned away or who should be subjected to extra tests.

But those of the Commission's projects that address national expectations - ie recording entry and exit, facilitating entry for preselected regular travellers and coordinating national border control authorities thanks to the Eurosur project - propose going much further. So much further that they risk defying EU rules on private data...

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