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European Parliament to address the challenges of digital transformation and cybercrime

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The European Parliament wants to strengthen Europol to give it the means to fight terrorism and organised crime. This comes in response to new challenges linked to the pandemic and the digital transformation.

A few words on Europol and its prerogatives

Based in the Netherlands, Europol supports the 27 Member States of the European Union in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism. Europol acts as a support center for law enforcement operations, a focal point for the exchange of information on criminal activities and a center of expertise in crime control.

Increased power to fight cybercrime 

As a result of the development of new technologies, globalization, increasing interconnectivity, digital transformation and, more recently, the pandemic, cybercrime has increased significantly. These changes have posed significant challenges to EU law enforcement, resulting in the need to deal efficiently with large volumes of data and to use encryption to fight crime.

In this vein, at the 2-5 May and June plenary sessions, MEPs backed proposals to give Europol more power to fight crime and terrorism. This would allow Europol to improve information sharing through closer cooperation with private parties, better data processing and a stronger role for the agency in research and innovation to enforce the law.

When it comes to terrorist content or child sexual abuse, Europol will now be able to receive data from private companies, for example communication providers. Currently, Europol can only receive data from private parties indirectly. Furthermore, to meet the challenge of big data, the reform establishes clear rules and a legal basis for the processing of large and complex data.

A work of cooperation

The new rules will also strengthen cooperation with non EU countries, for example by receiving personal data from third countries, as serious crime and terrorism often have links beyond the EU.

In addition, Europol will be able to propose to Member States to add alerts from non-EU countries on suspects and criminals, in particular foreign fighters, to the Schengen Information System (SIS).

Supervised data processing

In the context of the reform of Europol’s mandate and new prerogatives, the Parliament has called for guarantees to protect fundamental rights and users’ data through an enhanced data protection framework.

For example, Europol will appoint a Fundamental Rights Officer and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will supervise Europol’s data processing. 



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