What is the Schengen Information System?
The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the largest security database in Europe, created to enhance the security of the Schengen Area. It is a shared database that allows law enforcement authorities to exchange information on individuals and objects between Schengen countries. The SIS was established in 1995 and is managed by the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA).
Why would your data be in the Schengen Information System?
Your data may be stored in the SIS if you have been involved in a criminal investigation, if you have violated immigration laws, or if you have been banned from entering the Schengen Area. The SIS also stores information on missing persons, stolen vehicles, and lost or stolen documents such as passports and identity cards. The database can be accessed by law enforcement authorities and border control officers to help them identify and apprehend individuals who pose a threat to public safety or who are in violation of Schengen regulations.
Who can access the Schengen Information System?
The SIS can only be accessed by authorized personnel who have a legitimate interest in accessing the information. This includes law enforcement authorities, border control officers, and immigration officials. Access to the SIS is strictly regulated and requires a high level of security clearance. Personal data is protected by various safeguards, including encryption, access controls, and audit trails.
Step 1: Contact the authorities that processed your data
If you believe that your data is stored in the SIS, the first step is to contact the authorities that processed your data. This may be the police, immigration authorities, or border control officers. They can provide you with information about what data is stored and why it was processed. They can also advise you on how to submit a data access request.
Step 2: Submit a data access request
To request access to your data in the SIS, you must submit a written request to the national authorities in the country where your data was processed. The request should include your personal details, a description of the data you are requesting, and any relevant documentation to support your request. The authorities must respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe, usually within a few weeks.
Step 3: Follow up on your request
If you do not receive a response to your data access request, or if you are not satisfied with the response, you can follow up with the national authorities. You may also file a complaint with the national data protection authority if you believe that your data has been processed unlawfully. The data protection authority can investigate your complaint and take action to protect your rights.
What to do if you are denied access to your data
If your data access request is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. You can appeal to the national authorities or to the data protection authority. You may also seek legal advice to help you understand your rights and options.
What kind of data might be stored in the Schengen Information System?
The SIS stores a wide range of personal data, including names, dates of birth, photographs, fingerprints, and DNA profiles. It also stores information on criminal offenses, immigration status, and travel documents. The database is constantly updated with new information, and the data stored can be used to prevent and investigate crime, identify missing persons, and control the movement of people and objects across borders.
How long is your data kept in the Schengen Information System?
Data is kept in the SIS for as long as it is necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected. This means that data may be kept for different periods of time depending on the nature of the information and the reason for processing it. For example, data on missing persons may be kept indefinitely, while data on immigration violations may be deleted after a certain period of time.
How is your data protected in the Schengen Information System?
Data protection is a key priority for the SIS, and a range of technical and organizational measures are in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of personal data. These measures include encryption, access controls, and audit trails. The SIS also complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which sets strict rules for the processing and storage of personal data.
Conclusion: Your rights to access your data in the Schengen Information System
As a citizen of the Schengen Area, you have the right to access your personal data stored in the Schengen Information System. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can request access to your data and ensure that it is being processed lawfully and in accordance with your rights. The SIS plays an important role in enhancing the security of the Schengen Area, but it is important that personal data is protected and used only for legitimate purposes.
Resources for more information on the Schengen Information System
- European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA):
- European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS):