Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union, has been ordered to delete a huge store of personal data gleaned from police agencies in EU member states over the past six years. The deletion order comes from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), a watchdog body overseeing EU institutions’ compliance with privacy and data protection legislation.

EDPS has given Europol a year to review its databases and then remove any data that cannot be linked to a criminal investigation.

The total volume of data stored in Europol’s systems amounts to around 4 petabytes according to reporting in The Guardian — equivalent to hundreds of billions of pages of printed text — and includes data on at least a quarter of a million current…

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