European Parliament votes to hand data gathering powers to Europol

The European Parliament is set to give Europol – the EU’s police agency – new powers to gather and use data following a recent vote.  

According to Security Week, the vote – which passed by 480-143 – will allow Europol to work more closely with non-EU governments and share personal information with private firms.

The vote, however, provoked a disapproving response from privacy activists. While the EU said the regime was needed to help coordinate the fight against terrorism, child sex abuse and other crimes, activists said the oversight was too weak and would turn Europol into a ‘data black hole’.

NGO European Digital Rights member Chloe Berthelemy said, “Europol will be allowed to collect and share data left, right, and centre without much restriction or control.” The group itself alongside a coalition of NGOs said the reforms created ‘serious risks of violations of the right to fair trial, privacy and data protection, non-discrimination and freedom of expression.

A statement by the European Parliament stressed that people would be able to ‘consult data related to them’ and oversight would come from a new post of Fundamental Rights Officer and the European Data Protection Supervisor.

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