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Breyer on Europol lawsuit: Courts must protect us where politics is hostile to fundamental rights

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is going to court over the EU’s attempt to retroactively legalise large amounts of data Europol illegally collected on unsuspected citizens, including mobile phone and air traveller data. The EDPS is reacting to the heavily criticised Europol reform, which has given the agency broad powers since June 2022.

Member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party), a substitute member of the Europol supervisory body JPSG in the European Parliament, welcomes the decision:

“The data protection commissioner’s action against Europol is important and without alternative. For years, the police authority has illegally collected massive amounts of data on millions of unsuspected individuals, which were transmitted by national authorities. And politicians believe that they can now legitimise this bulk collection mania with the stroke of a pen. The controversial reform has already given Europol far too much control over innocent EU citizens. Now, the deletion of the absurd amount of 4 petabytes of data will need to be ordered by the courts.

It’s true that police cooperation in Europe is of vital importance, but it needs to respect the rule of law. After, due to these vast data pools, millions of innocent citizens risk being wrongfully suspected of a crime just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am confident that the courts will protect us where politics is acting hostile to fundamental rights.”