The purpose of this essay is to present an overview of the main functions of the Schengen Information system (SIS), as well of the main issues and problems surrounding its use.
In the first part of this essay, a description of the functions, the functioning and the architecture of the SIS will be given. In the second part, an analysis of the evolution of its functions will be presented. Finally, the third part will be devoted to issues and problems related to the use of this system.
In order to understand what the SIS is and which aims it is pursuing, it is necessary to underline the context from which the SIS arose.
About the "The Schengen Agreement":
The Schengen Agreement was signed on 14 June 1985. It aimed to create an area without internal border controls for persons and goods between the original contracting parties (France, Germany, Belgium, Netherland and Luxembourg). The Agreement was supplemented on 8 June 1990 by the Convention Implementing the Schengen agreement (CISA) which set out the detailed provisions on the abolition of borders controls1, and thus constituted the basis for the practical functioning of Schengen2.
But the anticipation of increased internal security risks due to the relaxation of border controls3 constituted a serious concern for the original Schengen States who feared that it would create a security deficit'. Therefore, the CISA was aimed to establish compensatory measures' which were meant to offset any possible negative effects in respect to internal security4 and to reconcile the principles of freedom of movement with security.
Among those measures, the article 93 of the CISA provides that the SIS aims to maintain public policy and public security, including national security and to apply the CISA's provisions concerning the movement of persons.
[...] Schengen information system - Functioning Concerning its concrete functioning, the SIS is a joint information system, a “computerized information system enabling designated national authorities of the Schengen members to use an automated search procedure giving access to reports on persons and objects compiled in all Schengen countries”. More particularly, the SIS is a “hit-no system. That is to say that when a person or an object is controlled, a search through the SIS would disclose whether or not a report has been entered by a Schengen State on this person or on this object. [...]
[...] Regulation No 1987/2006 of the European Parliament and of the council of 20 December 2006 on the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS OJ L381, pp.4-23. Council Decision 2007/533/JHA of 12 June 2007 on the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS OJ L 205,pp.63-84. Regulation No 1986/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 20 December 2006, regarding access to the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) by the services in the Member States responsible for issuing vehicle registration certificates, OJ L 391,pp.1-3. [...]
[...] Consequently, it is very likely that the investigative nature of the SIS II will be reinforced over the time, especially given the attractiveness of this tool Issues and problems related to the SIS Implementation delay of the SIS II The SIS is not yet implemented, three years after the adoption of its legal basis, because a long series of obstacles. Firstly, the legislative process has been particularly difficult. This is due to the fact that the SIS is situated at the crossroads of two conflicting principles: liberty and security. [...]
[...] Commission of the European Communities, Proposal for a Council Decision on the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen information system (SIS COM(2005)230, Brussels .2005,p.5. Ewelien Brouwer, ‘Data surveillance and Border Control in the EU: Balancing Efficiency and Legal Protection', in Thierry Balzacq & Sergio Carrera (eds.), Security Versus Freedom? A challenge for Europe's Future, Aldershot, Ashgate pp.137-154,p.139. Ilias Bantekas & Susan Nash, International Criminal Law, London, Cavendish, 2003,pp.236-237. Ben Hayes, From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information the proposals explained, Statewatch Analysis, February 2004, p.3, retrieved 26/02/2010, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2005/may/analysis-sisII.pdf. [...]
[...] Bigo, Didier, Police en réseaux, l'expérience européenne, Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques, Paris Brouwer, Evelien, Other Side of the Moon, the Schengen Information System and Human Rights: A Task for National Courts', CEPS Working Document, No April 2008, retrieved 15/04/2010, http://www.ceps.eu/files/book/1642.pdf. Brouwer, Evelien, Digital Borders and Real Rights, effective remedies for third-country nationals in the Schengen Information System, Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers Brouwer, Ewelien, ‘Data surveillance and Border Control in the EU: Balancing Efficiency and Legal Protection', in Thierry Balzacq & Sergio Carrera (eds.), Security Versus Freedom? [...]
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