This paper seeks to examine, after a brief overview of current EU legislation on personal data protection in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters, the European Commission’s proposal for a directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses or the execution of criminal penalties.
This proposal, if approved, will be the source of Community law governing the use and exchange of information relating to such data between the Member States as well as—and this is a significant change from the past—their use by individual national authorities.
The exchange of information is in fact becoming, more than ever, an indispensable tool in the prevention and suppression of crime.
The circulation of information, however, must be balanced against the need for privacy, a principle now enshrined in the EU’s Treaties and Charters.
Therefore, after having carried out an analysis of the Directive proposal, we highlight its critical aspects.
Finally, we look at the Italian legal system to understand how the new EU regulatory framework may be transposed into the legislation of a Member State and whether or not domestic legislation complies with EU regulations.