Europol has been ordered to purge its vast database of private citizen information.

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Europol has been ordered to purge its vast database of personal information.

Many critics have accused Europol of creating the European equivalent of the National Security Agency’s invasive databases as a result of the data free-for-all.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency tasked with combating organized crime and terrorism, has long been chastised by privacy activists for its judicious use of citizen surveillance.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) announced on Monday that it had ordered Europol to delete a large swath of the data it had compiled on EU citizens.

Many critics have accused Europol of creating the European equivalent of the NSA’s invasive databases as a result of the data free-for-all.

Europol has been given a year to filter its database and delete any information on EU citizens that isn’t linked to any ongoing criminal investigations, according to the EDPS.

While Europol will be able to continue to process people’s personal data in the future as part of investigations, data that is unrelated to criminals must now be deleted after six months instead of being kept indefinitely.

Europol had amassed upwards of four petabytes of data from people living across the European Union over the past few years, according to a new Guardian report released the same day as the EDPS’s announcement.

“Europol has failed to comply with the EDPS’ requests to define an appropriate data retention period to filter and extract the personal data permitted for analysis under the Europol Regulation,” the EDPS said in a statement released on Monday.

“This means Europol was storing this data for longer than was necessary, in violation of the Europol Regulation’s data minimization and storage limitation principles.”

Europol’s databases are compiled from a variety of sources, including law enforcement agencies across Europe and (surprise!) the European Parliament, which recently approved the creation of a massive biometric database based on fingerprints, facial scans, and travel documents processed at border checkpoints.

And, of course, there’s a network of private industry partners who provide data on a regular basis…

A brief summary of Brinkwire.

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