Schengen Information System (SIS II) goes live

Posted: April 17, 2013 in travel & tourism

The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) entered yesterday into operation to increase security and facilitate free movement within the Schengen area. The SIS II allows for an easy exchange of information between national border control authorities, customs and police authorities on persons who may have been involved in a serious crime. It also contains alerts on missing persons, in particular children, as well as information on certain property, such as banknotes, cars, vans, firearms and identity documents that may have been stolen, misappropriated or lost.

Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: “I am pleased to announce that SIS II is now entering into operation. Together with colleagues in the Council and Parliament I have brought the development phase of the project to a successful conclusion. I inherited a difficult file and putting this project back on track was not an easy task, but with my firm determination we were able to overcome major challenges. We can now move to the implementation phase that will be overseen by the new agency, eu-LISA”.

Krum Garkov, Executive Director of the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) said: “We stand ready to take over the operational management of SIS II. We are working closely with the Commission and the Member States to ensure a smooth transition to managing the system, providing a 24/7 service to the Member States and contributing to the efforts for a safer Europe”.

With the abolition of internal border checks, SIS II continues to play a crucial role in facilitating the free movement of people within the Schengen area. SIS II is the second generation of the Schengen Information System in operation since 1995 and has enhanced functionalities, such as the possibility to enter biometrics (fingerprints and photographs), new types of alerts (stolen aircrafts, boats, containers, means of payment), or the possibility to link different alerts (such as an alert on a person and a vehicle). SIS II will also contain copies of European Arrest Warrants (EAW) attached directly to alerts for persons wanted for arrest, surrender or extradition, making it easier and quicker for the competent authorities to ensure the necessary follow-up.

SIS II ensures strong data protection. Access to SIS II is limited to the national border control, police, customs, judicial, visa and vehicle registration authorities. Anyone has the right to access data that is related to them and entered in the SIS II and can also request the competent national authority to correct or delete their personal information. Everyone can also take action before a court, to access, correct, delete or obtain information or to obtain compensation in connection with an alert relating to them. The National Supervisory Authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor shall cooperate actively and ensure a coordinated supervision of SIS II.

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