BRUSSELS – Attorney General Eric Holder today joined Belgian Minister of Justice Stefaan De Clerck and Minister of Interior Annemie Turtelboom to sign an agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC), which will allow for the exchange of biometric and biographic data of suspected criminals between the United States and Belgium to bolster counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts while protecting individual privacy.
Under the agreement, Belgium and the United States will leverage state-of-the-art technology to share law enforcement data, including fingerprints, to better identify known terrorist and criminals during investigations and other law enforcement activities. The agreement authorizes the use of specific mechanisms for sharing vital information to help prevent serious threats to public security, and requires measures to ensure the protection and privacy of citizens in both countries. In fact, the PCSC contains numerous provisions pertaining to the handling, sharing, and retention of relevant data, all designed to ensure privacy and data protection.
Belgium is the 20th country with which the United States has signed an agreement to prevent and combat serious crime. Among the other international partners who have concluded similar agreements with the United States are Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Estonia, Greece and South Korea. These agreements – negotiated by the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State – prevent individuals who commit serious crimes in one signatory country from continuing illicit acts in another, and reaffirm the strong commitment of the United States to reciprocal partnerships that advance the safety and security of the United States and its allies.