Bills on updating the provisions on Schengen Information System were submitted to Parliament
On 18 March 2021, the Government submitted to Parliament a proposal on national legislation supplementing the EU regulations on the use of the Schengen Information System (SIS). The role of the SIS is to support checks at the external Schengen borders and improve cooperation and exchanges of information between law enforcement and judicial authorities across Europe.
The Schengen Information System (SIS) is used by Member States’ police, border and customs authorities and other competent authorities who are entitled to enter alerts on persons or objects into the system and consult them. They typically issue alerts, for example, on wanted or missing persons, return decisions concerning non-EU citizens, and entry bans. Alerts are also entered on children who are at risk of abduction or potential victims of violence. Photographs, fingerprints and other personal data may be stored in the entries to facilitate the identification of persons.
The current EU regulations on the use of the SIS entered into force on 28 December 2018. The purpose of these legislative amendments is to update the personal data laws of the Finnish Police, Border Guard and Customs to comply with these EU regulations.
The objective of the regulations is to strengthen the fight against terrorism and serious crime, ensure a high level of security across the EU, and promote migration management by stepping up the exchange of information between Member States. For residents of EU countries, these changes will be seen as improved cooperation between public authorities and as better enhancement of security across the EU.
“At the same time, legislative amendments will be proposed to harmonise and clarify the provisions on access to personal data in the common information systems of the EU for the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and serious criminal offences,” says Senior Specialist Suvi Pato-Oja from the Ministry of the Interior.
The government proposal moreover includes amendments that concern sharing data and information with the common information systems of the EU. As the proposed amendments to Finland’s national legislation are mainly technical in nature, the proposed provisions are not going to significantly change the current state of affairs.
What kinds of information individual Member States can share with the SIS is affected by their national provisions on the processing of personal data. In Finland, the processing of fingerprints in particular is strictly restricted. The government proposal in question therefore does not suggest any extensions to the provisions on the use of fingerprints.
This legislative project contributes to one of the strategic themes of the current Government Programme, “Safe and secure Finland built on the rule of law”.
Suvi Pato-Oja, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 379, [email protected]