A legal framework for sharing customs intelligence through the single window system
Some customs agencies are implementing electronic single window systems. These single window systems enable an importer or exporter to digitally transmit their transaction information to the customs administration. The single window system shares relevant information with other government agencies involved in the import or export process. It relieves the importer or exporter of the need to lodge transaction information separately with each government agency. An international single window system is the interconnection of two or more national single window systems. It enables the exporter’s transaction information to be re-used in import processing, thereby reducing the amount of information required from importers. For states that already have customs intelligence-sharing agreements, a single window system could be used to exchange intelligence information about the import and export transactions processed by the system. Intelligence-sharing agreements can and should include transparent protection for human rights. The human rights relevant to this legal framework are access to justice, freedom from arbitrary search and seizure, freedom from torture and the right to privacy. The right to privacy is the human right most affected by intelligence-sharing. This thesis proposes a legal framework to enable intelligence to be shared through a single window system with transparent terms for managing human rights. This thesis suggests that public confidence would be improved by showing how privacy and other human rights are treated in the rules for customs intelligence-sharing using the system proposed here.