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Italian authorities accused of illegally sharing EU drivers’ data

ULEZ Ultra low emission zone

Italian authorities accused of illegally sharing EU drivers' data

Italian authorities are under scrutiny for allegedly accessing and sharing personal data of thousands of EU drivers.

The investigation, sparked by Belgium's government, has included concerns from the Netherlands and Germany.

It highlights potential breaches in EU data protection laws.

The authorities passed the data to Euro Parking Collections (EPC), which is employed by Transport for London (TfL).

The firm manages fines for the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) violations. 

Belgium's move came after suspicions arose Italian police might have illegally provided EPC with Belgian drivers' data.

It raises alarms about the largest privacy breach in the EU's history. 

Despite TfL's denials of using Italian police for data acquisition, the issue has raised significant legal and ethical questions.

It’s particularly in the post-Brexit context where the UK's access to EU citizens' data for civil infractions like ULEZ violations is tightly regulated.

A similar case in Belgium involving a court bailiff suspected of unlawfully accessing the Belgian vehicle database for EPC has already occurred.

Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, has called on TfL to reassess its relationship with EPC until it can ensure compliance with legal standards. 

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The Guardian’s probe into wrongly issued ULEZ fines to British immigrants and EU nationals since Brexit further complicates the matter.

Over 330,000 penalties have been issued by EPC since 2021, some leading to substantial financial burdens on affected drivers.

Belgian officials have criticized the unauthorized use of their national vehicle database, leading to a broader call for enhanced safeguards against privacy violations at the EU level. 

The Belgian transport ministry has also engaged with TfL to address these concerns directly.

TfL and EPC maintain that they adhere to data protection laws, with TfL stating it ceased requesting Belgian driver data for ULEZ and LEZ enforcement. 

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