London, Mar. 26 (ANI): UK's liberty groups have expressed outrage over the transfer of sensitive data on millions of Britons to the new EU Gestapo, Europol.
The new European intelligence agency can access personal information on anyone, including their political opinions and sexual preferences, if it suspects that they may be involved in any "preparatory act" to a criminal activity.
Critics have warned that the EU snoopers threaten Britons' right to free speech.
"We have huge concerns that Europol appears to have been given powers to hold very sensitive information and to investigate matters that aren't even crimes in this country. Any extension of police powers at any level needs to be properly debated and scrutinised," the Daily Express quoted James Welch, legal director of campaign group Liberty, as saying.
"I am horrified. We thought Gordon Brown's Big Brother state was bad enough but at least we are going to kick him out in May. These guys we cannot sack until we leave the EU," Paul Nuttall, chairman of the UK Independence Party, said.
So far, Europol was a police office funded by various states to help tackle international organised crime.
However, it has been reborn as the official criminal intelligence-gathering arm of the EU and it will be centrally funded.
Among personal details that can be gathered and stored are "behavioural data" including "lifestyle and routine; movements; places frequented", tax position and profiles of DNA and voice.
Where relevant, Europol will also be able to keep data on a person's "political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or trade union membership and data concerning health or sex life".
The British Home Office, however, insisted: "Europol is now in a much stronger position to better support our fight against serious and organised crime and terrorism." (ANI)