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SIS: Police database to be opened to thousands of authorities

Last updated on March 9, 2021

From Germany alone, 2,000 other authorities should be able to access the Schengen information system. Critics fear abuse.

Mainly EU countries take part in the Schengen Information System (SIS). (Image: S. Hermann & F. Richter / Pixabay )

Up until now it was mainly police authorities who were able to access the European search system; now access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) is to be expanded considerably. According to the federal government, "around 2,000 further federal, state and local authorities are to be connected to the SIS" . But that creates even more potential for abuse, criticizes the member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko (Left Party), who had made a small request together with other members of the parliament.

For example, advertised searches are stored in the databases of the Schengen Information System. In total, more than 90 million people and objects were stored on January 1, 2020 , according to the small request . Biometric research is also possible, for example with facial images, explained Hunko .

The entries were increasing every year and came mainly from Italy, France and Germany, according to the small inquiry. In the past year, inquiries from authorities in the participating states were carried out around 7 billion times. In addition to 26 EU member states (all except Ireland and Cyprus), Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are involved.

Databases are often misused

"With the implementation of the new EU regulations on the Schengen information system, the largest European police database with tens of thousands of new users in the Schengen countries will be expanded considerably," said Hunko. In Germany, for example, the Federal Aviation Office, approval offices for watercraft or the Federal Maritime Administration as well as vehicle approval offices and weapons authorities should be able to access the database. A total of around 2,000 further federal, state and local authorities from Germany alone are to have access to the information stored in the SIS.

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"We know of endless reports from Germany that police databases are being misused for voyeurism, stalking or right-wing extremist activities. I am therefore extremely skeptical of the planned expansion," explained Hunko. He is also worried about the increase in the number of non-police authorities. "I therefore not only expect more searches in the SIS, but also more search entries," said Hunko. This may seem reasonable in many cases, but it does open barn doors to abuse.

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In Germany, there have been repeated cases in the past where members of the police abused their access to the databases. For example, Helene Fischer and other women , minors or people from the neighborhood were spied on , in other cases data was queried and passed on to the right-wing extremist scene . Right -wing extremist death threats signed with NSU 2.0 , which were preceded by data queries on police computers, caused a particular stir.

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