Schengen Information System
The Schengen Information System is the largest information system for public security in Europe. By allowing for easy information exchanges between national border control, customs and police authorities, it ensures that the free movement of people within the EU can take place in a safe environment.
The Schengen Information System (SIS) was established as an intergovernmental initiative under the Schengen Convention, now integrated into the EU framework. It is used by border guards as well as by police, customs, visa and judicial authorities throughout the Schengen Area. It holds information on persons who may have been involved in a serious crime or may not have the right to enter or stay in the EU. It also contains alerts on missing persons, in particular children, as well as information on certain property, such as banknotes, cars, vans, firearms and identity documents, that may have been stolen, misappropriated or lost. Information is entered into the SIS by national authorities and forwarded via the Central System to all Schengen States. The SIRENE Manual lays down the procedures for EU States' exchanges of supplementary information on alerts stored in SIS.
On 9 April 2013, the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) enters into operation. SIS II has enhanced functionalities, such as the possibility to use biometrics, new types of alerts, the possibility to link different alerts (such as an alert on a person and a vehicle) and a facility for direct queries on the system. It also ensures stronger data protection. One of the world's largest IT systems in the field, it consists of three components: a Central System, EU States’ national systems and a communication infrastructure (network) between the Central and the national systems.