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Gendering the European Parliament

“Handle with Care”: The Processing of Data for the Purpose of the Administrative Approach

Organised Crime
Robin Dreesen
Arrondissementeel Informatie- en ExpertiseCentrum (ARIEC)
Robin Dreesen
Arrondissementeel Informatie- en ExpertiseCentrum (ARIEC)

The right to privacy is fundamental in both Belgium and the European Union. This right is contained in the articles 8 of the EVRM and 22 of the Belgian constitution. The GDPR, which entered into force last year, emphasizes the importance of the protection of this right on European level. Procession information, and in particular personal data, forms an infringement on this right. Therefore, it is advisable that any public authority should handle thoughtful when it comes to this matter, even within the margin of their authorizations.

The present proposal for a paper will look into the possibilities and sensibilities concerning the enhancement of the information position of the administrative authorities. After all, a successful administrative approach can only be established when key-players are well informed about the whereabouts of activities on their territory. For Belgium, such key player is embodied by the Mayor and -by extension- his board of Alderman. However, it’s not always evident to inform the Mayor about developments taking place on the municipal territory, Belgium is developing means to streamline the information flux towards local authorities.

Information about organized crime embedded in the local community is of great value in different stages of the safety chain. When it comes to proaction, it’s useful to monitor vulnerable neighborhoods in a more general way. To handle preventive, it’s important to detect criminogenic indicators in an early stage. One can think of screening applicants before granting a permit or concession. In Belgium such a screening is not very common, in opposition to the practices in the Netherlands by bureau BIBOB . Also the imaging prior to a flex action can be crucial to determine which partners will join, while the flex action itself will deliver a great deal of information to act reactive or even repressive afterwards.

Local authorities can rely on information which is already being recovered by several actors in the field of security. To start with, one might think of the police and the judicial authorities. Both acquire lots of information about people located in the criminal justice chain. Also the fire brigade can have information about accommodations which come or came to the attention of local authorities. Furthermore, there are numerous inspections which are well informed about the employment, the housing or the more general condition of the concerned location. In addition, also public sources have proven to be useful. For example the Registry of Commerce (RoC), which is publicly accessible, displays the enterprises signed up on a certain address or a certain person involved as a business manager. Besides the RoC, civil servants within local governments often possess more valuable information than they realize, given the fact they handle local affairs such as the delivery of permits or recognitions. All this information may be channeled through the establishment of a Municipal Information and Expert Centre (GIEC). On a supra-local level, the ARIEC’s are the designated service to coordinate the information flux as well as the overall cooperation. On long terms the imaging by the different ARIECs may map which phenomenons local authorities encounter and even reveal certain trends doing so.

Although the above initiatives offer possibilities to exchange information between different players, the legislative framework is not sufficiently adjusted to face the current needs in the working field. That being said, the demand for a framework law is getting louder and louder.
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