European institutions

EU’s data protection authority sues lawmakers over Europol mandate extension

On 22 September, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published a legal action against EU lawmakers who recently adopted a strengthened mandate for Europol. The measures that the EDPS is bringing before the EU Court of Justice are related to the fact that Europol’s strengthened mandate is legalising its data retention practices. Indeed, back in January, the Data Supervisor ordered that the law enforcement agency should erase its data concerning individuals with no established link to a crime. According to the EDPS, this expanded mandate would establish a “worrying precedent”, as it would allow Europol to exchange this data with private companies and develop in-house artificial intelligence tools. This would in turn put individual protection at risk, especially in a highly sensitive field like law enforcement. (link)

European Commission prepares EU-wide cross-border police record search system

With its December 2021 proposal known as Prüm II, the EU seeks to facilitate information sharing between Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol by harmonising database access and adding facial image databases to the existing Prüm network which already contains DNA, fingerprints, and vehicle registration data. This proposal also includes the possibility for Member States to join a “European Police Records Information System” (EPRIS): this system will allow countries to open up their police records, which would be searchable by any other Member State police force and Europol for “the prevention detection and investigation of criminal offences”. However, in case of a “hit”, the police forces would have to send a request to receive further information from the country holding the record. To develop this system, the Commission has already funded several projects from national police forces and will continue doing so. What remains unclear is the legal basis on which this system would rely, as EPRIS has yet to be discussed by MEPs. NGOs like Statewatch and European Digital Rights (EDRi) are sceptical about this system and are calling on MEPs to demand concrete evidence of its necessity. (link)

Country News

Other News

Tension at Russian borders following Putin’s mobilisation of reservists’ announcement

On 21 September, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a call-up for reservists amid recent battlefield losses against Ukraine. Following this announcement, Russian citizens started leaving the country, causing tensions at neighbouring countries’ borders like Georgia and Mongolia, where satellite images showed large queues of vehicles. On the other hand, this also led to misleading information being spread on social media: on 21 September, videos and images circulating on Twitter showed irregular queues at the Finnish-Russian border. However, officials from the Finnish Border Guard who were monitoring the traffic in real time affirmed that this footage was captured weeks before Putin’s announcement and that queues at the border were normal. The next day, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that the government is currently considering ways to reduce Russian transit to Finland. (link)


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