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Parliamentary questions
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9 April 2021
Question for written answer  E-001916/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos (NI)
 Subject: EU funding of government intelligence gathering and crackdowns

In 2019, a EUR 4 million contract was signed with a telecommunications group to equip law enforcement officers with an initial batch of 1 000 portable facial recognition devices in June under the Smart Policing programme designed to make the police more effective and better equipped.

75% of the programme is being financed by the EU European Internal Security Fund (EISF), making the Greek police one of the first to deploy personal identification technology.

The EISF has been in operation for around ten years now. It has been supported by the successive governments of the Member States, including Greece, which have used it to fund operations designed to restrict people’s rights and clamp down on worker protests. It has also been used to help ‘combat radicalisation’, focusing on the identification of ‘extreme left-wing’ tendencies and online ‘left-wing extremism’, as well as sites attracting mainly younger people, by sharing information on the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN).

In the light of the above:

1. How can the Commission justify EU funding for massive infringements by the governments of Greece and other Member States of personal privacy and the right to freedom of expression, demonstration and assembly, through the monitoring and registration of protesters using cameras and facial recognition technologies?

2. Does it consider demonstrations and worker protests to be hotbeds of criminal activity requiring government surveillance, intelligence gathering and clampdowns?

Original language of question: EL
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