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AMBER Alert Europe respects your privacy. Your personal information will not be used for marketing purposes and will not be sold, rented out or voluntary handed over to parties outside AMBER Alert Europe.
Free movement of individuals and information
The economic and social integration resulting from the functioning of the internal market, has led to a substantial increase in cross-border flows of personal data. AMBERAMBER Alert Europe is, in light of the organisations goals, very much aware that the free movement of persons in the EU has both advantages and disadvantages. Exactly for this reason, its main objective is to create a European platform to retrieve all missing children. In doing so, we add to the cross-border flow of personal data of vulnerable individuals. Obviously this can only take place with utmost care and following due procedures, while such procedures may not undermine the effectiveness of the platform. It requires a carefully worked out balance between goals and safeguards.
The European Union realizes that the four freedoms, with all their advantages, also create new problems that require new rules. It has therefore issued a regulation (2016/679) on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data. This regulation shall be law in the entire European Union in 2018. Aim of the regulation is to optimally protect the privacy of individuals, while at the same time – by harmonising privacy law in each EU Member State – improving the free flow of information. AMBER Alert Europe tries to implement this regulation already fully, as it underwrites both its goals.
Decision taking by the competent authorities
Issuing an AMBER Alert or a comparable All-Points Bulletin (APB) on missing children is a serious matter. The media attention is usually considerate and the consequences for the privacy of the child and its family are considerable. This needs to be weighed carefully against the advantages of an APB. AMBER Alert Europe never takes the decision concerned autonomously. It is always taken by the competent authorities, usually the police or the public prosecutor, sometimes in cooperation with a local NGO. As soon as this decision has been taken however, AMBER Alert Europe’s work is based on the presumption that the authorities have taken this decision (i) after due consultation of the parents, (ii) in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations and (iii) after carefully weighing the pros and cons including privacy considerations. Once an APB is retrieved by the authorities that have issued it, AMBER Alert Europe also immediately discontinues its actions concerning this child.
Minimal publication of data
Per case, the relevant authorities decide which data concerning the child needs to be released in order to enhance recognisability and detection. Sometimes, for instance, releasing the name of the child is useful, as it is already known in the media. When such is not the case, the information in the APB is limited to a picture and an indication such as “eight year old boy.” AMBER Alert Europe always uses the information as it has been released by the authorities that have issued the APB. The organisation never adds any information, even if we may have further data for instance due to intensive media coverage. After closing an APB, the information is largely anonymized before it is added to AMBER Alert Europe’s mapping system, set up for scientific and policy purposes.
Rights of the stakeholders
Children of 13 years or older and legal representatives can, based on the right to one’s own image and the right to privacy, request AMBER Alert Europe to remove some or all their data from a running APB. Also they can request not (yet) anonymised data to be removed from AMBER Alert Europe (the right to erasure). Thirdly, legal representatives of the child can request information on how AMBER Alert Europe has received data from the relevant authorities, for the APB concerned (right to source indication).
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Questions or remarks
If you have any privacy-related question or remarks concerning the use of the AMBER Alert Europe Services, please send a detailed message to [email protected].