European Commission Solicit for Data Exchange with New Zealand to Combat Terrorism

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The European Commission on Wednesday proposed that negotiations begin on exchanging personal data with New Zealand to ramp up the fight against terrorism and serious crime, following this year’s deadly Christchurch mosque attacks.

On March 15, a man attacked two mosques in the city on New Zealand’s southern island with a machine gun, leaving 51 people dead.

Following the event, the country launched the Christchurch Call to Action, under which governments and technology firms have pledged to help eliminate terror and violent extremist content online.

The commission, the European Union’s (EU’s) executive, recommended on Wednesday that EU member states authorise the start of negotiations on a deal allowing EU police agency Europol to exchange personal data with its New Zealand counterparts for law enforcement purposes.

The agreement, once finalised, would include “the necessary data protection, privacy, fundamental rights and freedoms safeguards,” the commission said.

It will allow both sides to cooperate in fighting terrorism, cyber-crime and drugs.

“It shows that our closest allies, some of our most like-minded partners, can be quite a long way away.

“Because this is about values and not geography,” EU Security Union commissioner Julian King said.

He stressed that the jihadi threat had not gone away and was still being “very actively propagated” online, while pointing to the risk posed by self-radicalised individuals as well as thousands of people imprisoned for terrorist offences, who are approaching their release dates.

Foreign terrorist fighters also pose a risk, King said, noting that recent events in Syria “don’t make that any easier.”

“There is no way that we can lower our guard,” the top EU security official concluded. (dpa/NAN)


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