Plans to extend Schengen Information System

By EDRi · June 19, 2003

The European Parliament currently discusses 3 different reports about the
Schengen Information System (SIS). Rapporteur for all three reports is
Carlos Coelho. The reports aim at extending the amount of data handled and
the degree of cross-linking within the computer network.

Coelho, a Portuguese Conservative, has already been the Rapporteur on four
previous reports on the Schengen Information System in the last
year-and-a-half. Before that, he was the chairman of the Temporary
Committee on the Echelon system, and it is in part his merit that the
report on the U.S.-led interception system became a call for something
similar in the EU. Coelho may be considered very close to pro-surveillance
circles in the Council and the Commission. For this reason, his reports
should more or less reflect the positions of the officials running the SIS
server in Strasbourg and its mirrors in each of the EU Member States.

One of the reports, officially an own-initiative report (Proposal for a
Recommendation pursuant to Rule 49(1) of the Rules of Procedure) on behalf
of the Conservative Group in the EP, deals with the schedule and
capabilities of the Schengen Information System II (SIS II), which shall be
installed by 2006. As a starting point, Coelho quotes from a council
Document stating “When the SIS was first created, its only purpose was to
be a compensatory measure for the opening of the borders. Ever since, and
not in the least because the SIS has proven to be a useful and efficient
tool, recognition has grown that the potential of the SIS could be
maximised, mainly within the frame of police cooperation.” This would
probably include close links between Europol and SIS, a plan that was
uncovered by the UK publication Statewatch last year.

Besides extending SIS / SIS II from a border-oriented to an all-over data
warehouse – which has already been acquired in practice, Coelho and his
party plan to extend capacities, scope and users of the system: “SIS II
must have the potential to handle a significantly larger quantity of data
and be extended to cope with new information types, new subjects, further
new functions and new categories of users.” He quotes from the draft
conclusions of the June 5th / 6th Justice and Home Affairs Council to give
a few examples of new features of the system, e.g. interlinking of alerts
(‘alert’ is what a data record in SIS is called), including biometric data
and new ‘categories of persons’ like ‘violent troublemakers’ (EU slang for
persons engaged in Anti-EU Demonstrations) and ‘persons precluded from
leaving the Schengen area’.

Working Document on the Schengen Information System II (SIS II): current
developments (timetable, new functionalities and users currently under

Working Document on Schengen Information System II: future developments

Proposal for a Recommendation pursuant to Rule 49(1) of the Rules of
Procedure by Carlos Coelho on behalf of the PPE-DE Group on the
second-generation Schengen information system (SIS II)

Statewatch: Europol to be given access to the S.I.S., then custody?

(Contribution by Andreas Dietl, consultant on EU privacy issues)