INTERPOL has announced that it has begun moving towards a global data-sharing model to be used by law enforcement. This new model was announced at the 7th INTERPOL Dialogue on an Effective Multilateral Policing Architecture against Global Threats, hosted by the Gulf Cooperation Council-POL with the support of the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Interior.

The new model aims to reduce the amount of data-sharing systems to create one undivided system, improve coordination between law enforcement agencies, and increase efficiency.

While the concept of this new system is promising, the vast expanse of conflicting data protection laws in different countries will make a universal data-sharing system very difficult to maintain without issue. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which governs data protection in the countries within the European Union, contains much stricter data protection laws than the United States, which has varying data protection laws governing different subject matter at both the federal and state levels.

If the United States were to upload information onto the new data-sharing model that does not comply with the data protection laws of another country, with more protective data processing regulations, that may lead to conflict. Additionally, the new data sharing may cause compliance issues between countries. A country in the EU would not be able to comply, for instance, if the United States made a request that was in violation of the GDPR. 

These are just a few simple examples of how the grey areas of data protection laws can cause difficulties. Especially when considering that INTERPOL’s 196 member countries each has its own view on data protection, INTERPOL must ensure the system complies with the strictest data protection rules, thus raising the bar for less regulated countries.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.