02 November 2020
With the forthcoming interconnection of a host of EU databases for policing and migration, a lot more data on a lot more people will be available to a far greater number of authorities and officials than at present. However, EU databases are riddled with errors. As part of its proposal for a “European Police Partnership”, the German Presidency is planning a “European Data Quality Day” which will aim to improve “the quantity and quality of data” held in the Europol Information System and the Schengen Information System.
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NOTE from: Presidency to: Working Party on JHA Information Exchange (IXIM): Questionnaire preparing the first European Data Quality Day (EDQD) (10422/20, LIMITE, 9 September 2020, pdf)
With the European Police Partnership (EuPP), the Presidency is promoting the common understanding that freedom and security in the EU require effective and trustworthy cooperation between all police authorities. Within the existing legal framework, instruments should be used more effectively in a spirit of partnership. To that end, the exchange of relevant information – all available information, in best possible quality – between law enforcement authorities is a priority. It is only through even closer cooperation that we can combat growing threats more effectively throughout Europe.
As part of this initiative, we aim to encourage Member States’ authorities (especially police, but also justice authorities), Frontex and Europol to make greater use of the European law enforcement databases and enter more data. However, the initiative is not linked to issues that are currently being discussed separately, such as the Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) lists/ Schengen Information System(SIS) issue (about the integration of lists of FTF into the SIS).
In order to raise and maintain awareness of the importance of providing high quality data, we have planned a European Data Quality Day (EDQD), which we hope will become a recurrent European initiative.
Information exchange between police authorities of the Member States relies on sufficient and validated data in the different systems. The SIS – as the most widely used and largest information sharing system for security (and border management) in Europe – and the Europol Information System (EIS) that contains information on serious international crimes, suspected and convicted persons, criminal structures, and offences and the means used to commit them are the most important systems for (cross-border) police searches in the Member States.
A closer look however reveals certain shortcomings that illustrate the need to improve the quality and coverage of the data collected. Tragic cases that have caught the public’s attention have highlighted the insufficient availability of important national information in European databases. It seems that input into the EIS and SIS varies considerably between Member States. Even when legal restrictions subjecting the conditions of issue and the proportionality of European arrest warrants to an independent and objective review are taken into account, the ratio of national to Europe-wide arrest warrants needs improvement.
The EDQD is dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of the data in the EIS and SIS. Validated data is not only a key factor in investigations, but also a precondition of data protection, so as to avoid false positive matches and further actions based on false information.
Please send your replies to the questions listed below to IXIM.DE2020@bmi.bund.de and email@example.com by 1 October 2020 COB.
To identify and to further specify possible areas of action, we rely on your input and would therefore ask you to answer the following questions.
i. How many alerts does your Member State enter into the SIS? Please provide the figures as of 1 January 2018 until 1 September 2020 for the categories listed below and the number of new inserted alerts for the categories listed below for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
ii. How do these numbers relate to the number of corresponding national alerts?
iii. What measures have been taken in your Member State to improve the amount and quality of your national data sets in the SIS (e.g. changes in legislation, advertising, campaigns and training)? Have improvements in this respect been achieved at national level in recent years?
iv. Can you provide best practice recommendations?
v. Which data quality tools are you using at technical level in your Member State (e.g. pre-defined code tables)? Which processes do you apply to improve data quality (e.g. instructions for end-users)?
vi. When a database check is carried out, is the SIS automatically queried in addition to the national databases (e.g. default settings, instructions)?
vii. Are there obligations or default settings so that (new) national alerts in certain national databases are automatically transferred to the SIS?
viii. Are there automations to ensure that supplementary information (such as photographs and fingerprints or person-related remarks) are uploaded to the SIS (if available in national databases)?
ix. Which improvements could still be made at national or EU level to ensure that more national data sets are entered into the SIS? How? Please explain.
2) Ratio of arrest warrants/alerts entered into the SIS to arrest warrants/alerts not entered into the SIS
i. How many national arrest warrants are currently active in your Member State? How many of these national arrest warrants concern murder, grievous bodily harm, organised or armed robbery, rape, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography?
ii. How many of those arrest warrants have been turned into European arrest warrants pursuant to Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States?
iii. Can you give reasons for the differences in the figures (ratio of national to European-wide arrest warrants)? Differences might result e.g. from legal restrictions, judicial workflows, etc. Please explain.
iv. How many of those European arrest warrants are entered into the SIS?
3) Additional alert categories
i. How does the use of other alerts (alerts inserted into the SIS by the police authorities) under Articles 32 or 36 of the SIS Police Regulation (discreet and specific checks) relate to the use of national alerts on missing persons, travelling sex offenders and foreign terrorist fighters? Can you give reasons for the differences in the figures related to the different phenomenological areas (even ratio of national to SIS alerts)?
ii. In which areas of serious and organised crime do you also use alerts issued nationally by police authorities, e.g. alerts under Articles 32 or 36 of the SIS Police Regulation (i.e. alerts other than arrest warrants)?
iii. How many alerts issued nationally by police authorities did you enter in 2019 in these areas of offending?
iv. How many of these alerts issued nationally by police authorities have been transferred to the SIS at European level?
v. Why, if applicable, have national alerts issued nationally by police authorities not been transferred to the SIS?
EIS – ratio of national data sets to data sets contributed to the EIS
1) How many data sets does your Member State contribute to the EIS? What is the ratio of national data sets to data sets contributed to the EIS?
2) What measures have been taken in your Member State to improve the amount and quality of your national data sets in the EIS (e.g. advertising, campaigns, technical solutions and training)? Have improvements in this respect been achieved at national level in recent years?
3) Can you provide best practice recommendations?
4) When a database check is carried out, is the EIS automatically queried in addition to the national databases (e.g. default settings, instructions)?
5) Are there obligations or default settings so that (new) alerts in certain national databases are automatically transferred to the EIS?
6) Is there further potential for improvement in the use of the EIS related to quantity (national/international)? If yes, please explain.
1) Do you have preferences for media that could be taken on board with a view to an EDQD action day (e.g. information sites in police intranets, pop-up windows on personal work stations or the national SIS interface when logging in, etc.)? Do you have any other ideas for the planned EDQD?
2) As the EDQD is not supposed to be a one-off event, but rather aims at sustainable improvements in data quality and might demonstrate a need for legal changes (at national level): what long-term measures would you propose to achieve a more efficient use of the SIS and EIS?
See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Working Party on JHA Information Exchange (IXIM): Questionnaire preparing the first European Data Quality Day (EDQD) (10422/20, LIMITE, 9 September 2020, pdf)
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