More queries & hidden searches in the Schengen Information System

The Schengen intelligence system, with nearly 100 millions of records, has recorded two highs: Both general data queries have risen sharply, but the number of clandestine searches has increased massively. The system searches for wanted, missing or unwanted people. There are also motor vehicles that need to be monitored and stolen cars noted.

After all, Europe is no longer an island of the blessed, so the question of more security and protection from terror and crime is now an essential one. This is also reflected in the number of searches for the non-public Schengen Information System (SIS): According to WELT, the responsible EU Security Commissioner Julian King refers to nearly four billion queries 2016, which corresponds to an increase of 40 percent compared to the previous year. The security authorities of all 26 Schengen states as well as Europol, border and customs authorities and national prosecutors have access.

More often undercover investigations & "immediate reports"

For police and intelligence services in Europe, the system plays a very special role: these authorities do not want to make their investigations obviously obvious, but prefer a covert pursuit. And this is exactly what SIS makes possible by showing itineraries, escorts and contact details of suspects (for example at border control). With the "immediate notification" that has been possible for three years, the message about a hit works very fast. The number of these accelerated reports is also rising steadily.

Exchange of information across authorities and countries

In the spirit of general safety awareness and, fortunately, with a new sense of community, the EU is now considering extending this control. So not only the tendering authority should be informed in case of a hit, but all (or at least several) Schengen members. But that's not all: Interpol and various national and European information services such as the passenger data system should also be integrated. Long live the cooperation!

Of course, the considerations also have a numerical background: The response of the Federal Ministry to a "written question" shows that the secret search is virtually "booming": 2016 96.108 were "only" people persecuted obscured, 2017 but it was already incredible 129.412! Not necessarily a good sign ...

How does such a covert search work?

One should not imagine this possibility as an exciting gangster hunt now. It is really a pure data story. Covert inspections according to SIS-II allow notifications of interest, but no arrests or searches are made of the advertised person. However, the data that the authority receives about the person are quite comprehensive: itinerary, destination; Place, time and occasion of review; Accompanying persons or inmates as well as carried things and used means of transport.

When may be followed covertly?

This regulation has been defused in comparison to the past: today the existence of a single offense is already sufficient, in the past it had to be several. In certain cases, the secret persecution is also sufficient if serious crimes are to be expected from the person being posted or if the state is seriously endangered. It's also interesting to see who uses the covert pursuit: Top 3 are far ahead of France (44,43% of tenders), Great Britain (14,6%) and Italy (10,09%). Germany is a little further behind with 4,63%.

Created on:04/12/2018

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