The EU response to the migratory crisis and security challenges relies to an important extent on Interoperability, the process of enabling large-scale EU databases to communicate and exchange information. While interoperability might prove a useful tool, it is also likely to have profound legal and societal consequences. Migration management and the fight against terrorism and organised crime are increasingly interlinked. Police are granted access to migration databases and migration authorities to police databases, new IT systems with dual purposes are under construction, and the competencies of EU agencies in the ex-third pillar sphere are being extended. In his opinion on interoperability the EDPS called for “a wider debate on the future of information sharing in the EU”. This high-level panel should give further impulse to this debate by addressing the following questions:
• Is “total information awareness” about people crossing EU borders an appropriate solution to tackle migratory and/or security challenges? At what costs in terms of individual rights? Are there alternatives?
• Under what conditions can data that have been collected for one purpose be used in a different context?
• Interoperability would inextricably link migration, police and judicial cooperation databases and impact the way legal principles have been interpreted so far in these areas. As such, it will mark a point of no return. Rather than a technical choice, interoperability is a political choice. How to ensure that the democratic process is fully complied with?