A news release on 17th April announced that the Commission is proposing measures to: bolster the security of identity cards and reduce document fraud; provide law enforcement and judicial authorities with access to electronic evidence and financial information; further restrict terrorists’ access to explosives precursors; and strengthen controls on the import and export of firearms. The measures proposed include –
Cutting off terrorist financing by allowing law enforcement authorities timely access to financial information necessary for investigations of serious crimes (including information on bank accounts and financial analysis), the Commission is proposing a new Directive which will provide for:
- Direct access to bank account information: law enforcement authorities and Asset Recovery Offices will have direct access on a case-by-case basis to bank account information contained in national, centralised registries enabling the authorities to identify in which banks a suspect holds accounts. Data protection safeguards ensure that only limited information on the identity of the bank account holder and only in specific cases of serious crime or terrorism would be made available to law enforcement officers; and
- Better co–operation: the Directive provides for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and the national FIU as well as between Member States. This includes the possibility for law enforcement to request financial information or analysis from FIU – including data on financial transactions, as well as the possibility for FIU to request law enforcement information from their competent national authorities.
Tightening rules on explosives precursors and imports and exports of firearms; as home-made explosives have been used by terrorists in many attacks in Europe over the past years, to close this security gap, the Commission is proposing to strengthen the current rules on marketing and use of explosives precursors by:
- Banning additional chemicals: the Commission proposed to add new chemicals to the list of banned substances which could be used to make home-made explosives. Since the substances can be obtained equally in in brick-and-mortar shops as well as from online retailers and online marketplaces, the new rules will also apply fully to online sales;
- Ending the current registration systems: the new rules will put an end to the registration systems some Member States currently have in place. These systems, considered weak from a security perspective, allow members of the general public to register purchases of some restricted substance upon simple presentation of an ID card;
- Careful licensing and screening: Member States can choose to have a licensing system for the purchase of a limited number of restricted substances which could have a clear legitimate use. Before issuing a licence to a member of the general public, each Member State will have to verify the legitimacy of such a request and run a careful security screening, including a criminal record check; and
- Quicker and better information sharing: the new rules introduce an obligation for businesses to report a suspicious transaction to the responsible authorities within 24 hours. The new measures also provide for greater information sharing between companies, including online businesses, and awareness raising along the whole supply chain.