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Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime

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The Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC) refers to a number of agreements between the United States and other countries to share information about criminals. A PCSC agreement provides for the reciprocal exchange of biometric and biographic data and any relevant underlying information for law enforcement purposes.

It allows for fingerprint matching "hit/no hit" queries between the nations, pursuant to which law enforcement officials in either country may submit the fingerprint information of a suspected criminal or terrorist to the other country for an immediate determination whether the queried country holds matching fingerprint records, while incorporating important privacy protections. If this initial inquiry results in a match, only then may follow-up inquiries be made through law enforcement or mutual legal assistance channels. The parties may also "spontaneously" share terrorism or criminal information with each other, even without a query being made. This spontaneous or voluntary sharing may occur on a case-by-case basis or in bulk and may be used for criminal investigations, for preventing a serious threat to public security, and for other related uses.

The PCSC contains numerous provisions pertaining to the handling, sharing, and retention of relevant data, all designed to ensure privacy and data protection.

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