Second generation Schengen system launched

The European Commission last week announced the deployment of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II).

Jul 18, 2013
By Paul Jacques
Professor Dame Carol Black

The European Commission last week announced the deployment of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II).

The new system will enable the exchange of information between national border control authorities, customers and police authorities on crime, national security and immigration matters.

Designed to replace an older counterpart, SIS II will streamline border control processes in the region and transform the way Schengen States share information.

It has been developed by the international consortium Steria-HP, led by IT-enabled business services specialist Steria.

Boasting improved functionality and scalability, the state-of-the-art SIS II will transform how countries in the Schengen Area exchange information on crime, national security, immigration matters and keep the external borders safe.

SIS II consists of three shared components – a central system, Schengen Member States national systems and a communication infrastructure between the central and national systems.

The central system acts as a single point of information entry for the 29 Schengen states and associated countries, including the UK, connecting to all national IT systems in the region. This will allow member states to share information between national border control authorities, customers and police authorities on a variety of homeland security issues, including serious crime, theft and missing persons.

SIS II will also enable member states to introduce new types of data, such as biometric data, into the system. Member states can set up new alerts on suspected criminal activity and link these with existing alerts on individuals or vehicles. In addition, copies of European Arrest Warrants (EAW) can be attached directly to alerts for persons wanted for arrest, surrender or extradition, making it quicker and easier for the appropriate authorities to follow-up.

The UK is among the member states and associated countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, France and Slovenia) that will use an off-the-shelf system from Steria to connect to the central system.

New countries, such as Croatia, and central institutions like Europol and Eurojust, can be easily integrated into the system as the Schengen Area expands.

Steria also delivered a ‘converter’ between SIS 1 – the legacy system – and its successor to provide a safety net for data migration to counter any potential problems encountered by member states during the switchover.

The project was simultaneously rolled-out across more than 300 IT systems.

Steria has previously provided the VISA Information System to the European Commission that prevents fraudulent activities such as ‘visa-shopping’ and implemented the Eurodac biometry system across the EU to process immigration application requests.

François Enaud, Steria Group CEO, said SIS II demonstrates a major step forward in sharing information and processes within the Schengen region.

Johan Deschuyffeleer, senior vice-president for HP Technology Consulting Services, added that with border security and citizen protection becoming increasingly important, the converged infrastructure delivers mission-critical support to give governments access to information in an instant.

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