Apparently Europol Is Hoarding Personal Data

An EU watchdog says rules that allow Europol cops to retain personal data on individuals with no links to criminal activity go against Europe’s own data privacy protections, not to mention undermining the regulator’s powers and role.

As such, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has asked Europe’s top court to toss out two amendments to the Europol Regulation that took effect on June 28 enabling this data hoarding by the police.

In court documents filed this month, EDPS claimed the new provisions retroactively legalize Europol’s practice of storing personal data on people not linked to criminal activity — a practice the watchdog has sanctioned the law enforcement agency for in the past, and in January ordered Europol to delete such information.

So in summary, EDPS told the police at the start of the year to not hoard these records, and then months later European lawmakers authorized the practice by updating the rules, leading to the supervisor challenging the amendments.

The regulator’s order to delete people’s data stemmed from an investigation that took place between April 2019 and September 2020, and concluded Europol harvested and retained too much information on too many individuals for far too long.

To remedy this, the order required the European cops to check to see if an individual was linked to criminal activity within six months of collecting their personal data. If those folks had no nefarious ties, then the law enforcement agency was supposed to erase the private information.

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