Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Third Report

EU Justice and Home Affairs Databases Present and planned

       Name of Database Legal
Operational UK
Nature of
Information held
System based in, and operated by No. of terminals
in UK
No. of
in EU
Supervision Data
1a.Customs Information System (Third Pillar)
Convention on the use of Information Technology for customs purposes (Cannes European Council 1995) NO: The Convention will enter into force provisionally when a majority of Member States has ratified it; formally when retified by all MS Full participation Information relating to money laundering and illicit trafficking of goods in general, including personal details of known and suspected offenders Brussels, operated by the European Commission 32 at present. To rise to 34, covering all major ports and airports ?Exclusively for competent authorities designated by each Member State National supervisory authority to be designated by each Member State; Joint supervisory Authority to supervise CIS 3; CIS 3 to be subject to a protection provision under the Convention and national laws
1b.Customs Information System (First Pillar) (CIS 1) Council Regulation (EC) No: 515/97, OJ L82, 22 March 1997; Commission Regulation (EC) No: 696/98, OJ L96, 28 March 1998 On trial from 13 March 1998, using a pre-existing network of terminals and lines which previously provided a "messaging facility" Full participation Information relating to offences against EC customs legislation, incl. personal details of known and suspected offenders As for CIS 3As for CIS 3 ?As for CIS 3 CIS 1 is to be overseen by supervisory body to be set up under Art. 286 TEC CIS 1 to be subject to provisions of the EC Data Protection Directive
3.3 2.
Schengen Information
System (SIS)
Convention (now incorporated into the Treaties)
YesUK wish to participate
has been indicated
Information on certain specified categories of person and objects, in connection with:-

a. combating trans-frontier crime, and

b. the application of the Schengen Convention provision on free movement
of persons.
Central SIRENE Unit based in Strasbourg

Supplementary information requested at the National Entry).
None at

(an estimate might be c. 5000)

Each of the 9 Member States of Schengen has a National SIRENE (database), containing data identical to that held in Strasbourg, linked to relevant national data networks (usually the police network);
c. 49, 000 terminals in total
Governed by the law of Schengen States. Each State to designate national authorities able to search the system, and must notify the Schengen Executive Committee for the purposes for which they may search the system
Joint Supervisory Authority is responsible for monitoring personal data protection. It has no enforcement powers.

No recourse to a judicial body, such as the ECJ.

Supervision at national level is undertaken by designated data protection authority
Convention contains provisions regulating use, checking, correction, amendment and deletion of data.

Arrangements, for subjects' access rights are in accordance with national law of Schengen States
3.EUROPOL Europol Convention YesFull UK participation (i) data on criminal offences within Europol's remit (essentially trans-frontier crime; see p.4, para 30 for further information, and data on persons involved, or suspected of being involved in, such offences.

(ii) analysis files related to data held under (i)

(iii) an index system containing particulars from analysis files
The Hague, Europol Headquarters One, the National Crime Intelligence Service One designated national unit in each Member State The data may be inputted and accessed by national units and liaison offices. Access to analysis files is restricted to analysts and liaison officers from States supplying data. Access to the index system is restricted to liaison officers and Europol officials A Management Board, overseeing the programme and a Joint Supervisory Body, comprised of 2 representatives of national data protection supervisory bodies. The standard is that set out in the 1989 Council of Europe Convention and Recommendation No. R (87) 15 concerning the use of personal data in the police sector.
4.EURODAC The Commission has proposed a Community Regulation based on Article 63 (1) (a) TEC No, unlikely "before 2002 at the very earliest"
(Home Office, p.2.)
The UK has notified its intention to participate in the Regulation in accordance with the Protocol on the position of Ireland and the UK Personal data, including fingerprints, for the purpose of deciding which Member State is responsible, under the terms of the Dublin Convention, for examining an asylum application
It is expected that the Commission will run the central database, at a location to be decided (Q 18) Probably oneProbably one in each Member State Designated authorities in each Member State (if UK participates, this is likely to mean nominated officials in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate) Independent Supervisory Authority to be established under Article 286 EC Treaty.

Court of Justice to have full jurisdiction.

European Ombudsman can rule on questions of maladministration
1995 EC Data Protection Directive will apply

As the table shows, these databases have been developed, or are being developed, on the basis of a variety of legal instruments:

  • Third Pillar Convention (Europol/CIS 3)
  • Community Regulation (CIS 1)
  • A Convention between a number of Member States, which is now incorporated into the Treaties, with opt-outs for the non-participating states (Schengen).
  • Community Regulation (superseding a draft convention and protocol) in relation to which the UK will have a right of opt-in[2] (Eurodac).

8. This situation gives rise to a number of practical problems, and, in particular, gives rise to differing standards with regard to data protection. This is discussed further in paragraphs (x-y) below.

2   Under Article 3 of the Protocol on the position of the UK and Ireland (annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the EC Treaty), the UK may participate in the adoption of measures in the field of asylum and immigration based on Title IV of the EC Treaty. Back

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