On 10 January, the Guardian reported that Europol will be forced to delete much of a vast store of personal data that it has been found to have amassed unlawfully in a finding from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), and targets what privacy experts are calling a “big data ark” containing billions of points of information. Sensitive data in the ark has been drawn from crime reports, hacked from encrypted phone services and sampled from asylum seekers never involved in any crime. Europol copied the data extracted from 120 million EncroChat messages and tens of millions of call recordings, pictures and notes, then parcelled it out to national police forces. The evidence of drug trafficking and other offences drowned out qualms about the privacy implications of the operation. The hacking operation that turned EncroChat phones into mobile spies acting against their users has important similarities with surveillance malware such as Pegasus.
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