Germany wants EU police to share personal data

Proposed EU measures could give security forces unprecedented access to individuals' data

European Union justice ministers are meeting this week in Dresden, Germany, to discuss a package of measures that could give police and other security forces in the region unprecedented access to a range of individuals' personal data.

The measures, known as the Treaty of Plum after the German town where the accord was signed by several E.U. member states in 2005, would allow police and other security agencies in different countries to search each other's databases for DNA records, fingerprints, vehicle registrations and other personal information.

During its E.U. presidency, which began this month, Germany hopes to muster enough support to turn the private Treaty of Plum into E.U. law.

The treaty was initially signed by Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Spain. Four other member states -- Finland, Italy, Portugal and Slovakia -- have since signaled their intention to join.

Support for the security measure has grown as E.U. member states worry about their national security being increasingly threatened by international terrorism, organized crime and illegal immigration.

Since December, Austrian and German police have been providing access to DNA records stored in their databases. Under a "hit/no hit" process, police can run searches on suspected individuals and retrieve information within minutes, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior said Monday.

As part of its security program during the E.U. presidency, Germany is also calling for closer collaboration in monitoring and analyzing Web sites used by terrorist organizations and better protection for critical infrastructure, such as power grids and gas lines, against a terrorist attack.