The Integrated Police processes citizens' data in the Schengen Information System (SIS), a European database for entering alerts on entities.
What is SIS?
SIS is a database in which the Schengen countries (25 EU Member States and the four associated Schengen countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and two EU Member States that do not yet fully apply the Schengen acquis (Bulgaria and Romania) enter persons and objects in the form of alerts.
The purpose of SIS shall be to ensure a high level of security within the area of freedom, security and justice of the Union including the maintenance of public security and public policy and the safeguarding of security in the territories of the Member States, using information communicated through this system.
The legal basis
Three different EU instruments constitute the legal basis for SIS:
Regulation (EU) 2018/1860 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals
Regulation (EU) 2018/1861 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks, and amending the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, and amending and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006.
Regulation (EU) 2018/1862 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 November 2018 on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, amending and repealing Council Decision 2007/533/JHA, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Decision 2010/261/EU.
In addition, the Belgian SIS-Wet and SIS-KB concretise a number of national aspects concerning SIS, such as the designation of the national authorities and the data controllers for SIS in Belgium.
Data retention periods in SIS and information exchange based on them can be found in these instruments.
Who or what can be the subject of an alert in SIS?
An alert is an entry in the database of a person or object for the purpose of measures to be taken against that person or object by the other countries having access to SIS. Thus, SIS contains:
- identity data of the person or object for the purpose of identification during a check;
- data on the measure to be taken against that person or object.
All persons can potentially be entered in SIS, without distinction of nationality, i.e. citizens of participating countries as well as citizens of other countries and stateless persons.
The objects that can be entered in SIS are:
- motor vehicles regardless of the propulsion system
- trailers with an unladen weight exceeding 750 kg
- industrial equipment
- boat engines
- aircraft engines
- blank official documents which have been stolen, misappropriated, lost or purport to be such a document but are false
- issued identity documents, such as passports, identity cards, residence permits, travel documents and driving licences which have been stolen, misappropriated, lost or invalidated or purport to be such a document but are false
- vehicle registration certificates and vehicle number plates which have been stolen, misappropriated, lost or invalidated or purport to be such a document or plate but are false
- banknotes (registered notes) and false banknotes
- items of information technology
- identifiable component parts of motor vehicles
- identifiable component parts of industrial equipment
What measures can be taken against entities that are the subject of an alert?
The following measures can be taken against persons based upon an alert:
- arrest for surrender or extradition purposes
- specific checks
- inquiry checks
- discreet checks
- locate missing or vulnerable persons
- locate persons to assist with a judicial procedure
- refusal of entry or stay in the Schengen area (only for third-country nationals)
- support the enforcement of a return decision and verify that the obligation to return has been complied with (only for third-country nationals)
The following measures can be taken against objects based upon an alert:
- specific checks
- inquiry checks
- discreet checks
How do I exercise my rights regarding my data in SIS?
Any natural person has the right to access, directly or indirectly, her or his personal data stored in SIS. If necessary, requests for rectification and/or erasure of these data may also be submitted.
If your request concerns an alert for refusal of entry or stay in the Schengen area, or an alert in relation to a return decision, you should apply directly to the authority that issued the ban on entry or stay in the Schengen area. You can exercise your rights directly with this authority.
In Belgium, requests for access, rectification or erasure can be submitted to the data protection officer at the Immigration Office:
Dienst Vreemdelingenzaken Office des étrangers
De functionaris voor gegevensbescherming Délégué à la protection des données
Pachecolaan 44 Boulevard Pachéco 44
1000 Brussel 1000 Bruxelles
If your request concerns another type of alert (alert for the purpose of international police cooperation), you cannot contact the Federal Police or a local police unit directly. You can only exercise your rights indirectly through the Supervisory Body for Police Information (COC). This independent body is responsible for monitoring police information management and will check for you whether your data that have been stored in SIS are correct and have been processed lawfully. If the Supervisory Body finds that your data have been unlawfully stored in SIS, it will require the police authorities to erase them, and if it finds that incorrect data about you have been stored in SIS, it will require the police authorities to rectify them.
Please note that the Supervisory Body will only inform you that the necessary verifications were carried out. It will not let you know whether data about you had been stored in SIS, whether this was lawful, and whether the data were correct!
You can find a form to exercise your rights on the website of the Supervisory Body. Please state clearly that it concerns data about you that may have been stored in SIS.
Complaint with the supervisory authority
Any person has the right to lodge a complaint with the competent supervisory authority when he or she is of the opinion that his or her rights have been violated.
For alerts for refusal of entry or stay in the Schengen area, and alerts in relation to a return decision, the supervisory authority is the Data Protection Authority (GBA), whose contact details can be found on https://www.gegevensbeschermingsautoriteit.be/burger/acties/contact.
For other types of alerts, i.e. alerts for the purpose of international police cooperation, the supervisory authority is the Supervisory Body for Police Information (COC), whose contact details can be found on https://www.controleorgaan.be/en/.