Schengen Information System (SIS)
Liechtenstein has been a member of the Schengen Area since December 2011. Within the framework of the Schengen-Agreement, systematic checks on persons at internal borders between Member States are suspended in order to facilitate the movement of persons. At the same time, order and security in the Schengen area are ensured through stronger cross-border police cooperation. At the core of the Schengen Agreement is the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II). This is an electronic police system for searching persons and objects. It is operated jointly by the Member States.
In addition to data on objects, SIS II also processes personal data on a large scale. Due to the processing of personal data, there are numerous connections with data protection that need be considered. The Data Protection Authority therefore provides fact sheets regarding Schengen and the processing of personal data.
Furthermore, the Supervision Coordination Group has prepared a document that provides transparent and comprehensive information on the rights of data subjects. In addition to the general information provided, it explains the modalities of exercising rights with regard to each individual Member State.
A guide to exercise the right of access in respect of SIS II may be found here: Schengen Guide of Access
SIS Supervision Coordination Group (SIS II SCG)
The former SIS Joint Supervisory Authority (Schengen JSA), which consisted of representatives of the national supervisory authorities, was dissolved with the introduction of SIS II on 9 April 2013, as the legal basis ceased to exist. At the same time, a legal basis for a new SIS II Coordination Group (SIS II SCG) was established. The Coordination Group consists of one representative from each of the national data protection authorities of the Member States, as well as the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). The first meeting of the SIS II SCG took place in June 2013. Liechtenstein is regularly represented at the meetings, which take place two to three times a year.
In the Coordination Group, Member States assist each other in data protection audits, clarify interpretation or application of the legal basis, develop harmonized solutions, promote awareness of data protection rights, and follow up on difficulties in the exercise of independent supervision or the exercise of data subjects’ rights. To this end, recommendations are prepared and experiences are shared.
For more information, activity reports and documents, please visit the website of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).
Visa Information System (VIS)
The Visa Information System (VIS) is a system for the exchange of data on visas (temporary stays) between the Member States of the Schengen area. Its main purpose is the implementation of the common visa policy and consular cooperation. The VIS became operational in October 2011.
For more information on the VIS, click here.
VIS Supervision Coordination Group (VIS SCG)
Art. 43 of the VIS Regulation points out that the national supervisory authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) shall cooperate, exchange relevant information, assist each other and ensure coordinated supervision of the C-VIS (central VIS) and the national systems (N-VIS). This is the basis of the VIS SCG that started its work on 21 November 2012.
A representative of the Liechtenstein Data Protection Authority regularly attends the meetings of the VIS SCG.
Summaries of the meetings, activity reports as well as inspection reports can be found here.
The Dublin Regulation, signed by all Member States on 15 June 1990, allows for the determination of the state responsible for the examination of asylum applications lodged in any Member State. The Eurodac system is designed to assist Member States in determining the Member State responsible for asylum procedures. By means of a comparison of fingerprints with the Eurodac database, it is possible to determine whether an asylum seeker or a foreigner illegally present in the territory has already applied for asylum in another Member State, or whether an asylum seeker has entered illegally.
In 2003, the Eurodac system was established. In 2013, Eurodac was placed on a new legal basis (Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council of 26 June 2013 on the establishment of Eurodac). Since then, checks by law enforcement authorities for the purposes of prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist offences or other serious criminal offences have also been possible.
Eurodac Supervision Coordination Group (Eurodac SCG)
With regard to the protection of personal data, Member States of origin are responsible for the lawfulness of the taking of fingerprints as well as for the lawfulness of the use, transmission, storage and erasure of the data. In addition to the national supervisory authorities, an independent joint supervisory authority was established, composed of a maximum of two representatives of the national supervisory authority of each Member State. It monitors the activities of the central unit and compliance with the rights of data subjects. It is also responsible for dealing with questions of application in connection with the operation of the Eurodac system.
A representative of the data protection unit regularly attends the meetings of the Eurodac SCG.
The legal basis, summaries of the meetings, activity reports as well as inspection reports can be found here.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has issued a guide for authorities when taking fingerprints concerning the right to information. You can find the English brochure here.
The Entry-Exit System is designed to electronically record the time and place of entry and exit of third-country nationals admitted for a short stay (max. 90 days per 180 days) in the territory of the Member States. Furthermore, third-country nationals who have been refused entry for a short stay are also to be recorded in the EES. The EES is operated at the external land, sea and air borders of those Member States that fully apply the Schengen acquis.
With Bericht und Antrag 2019/8, the necessary legislative adjustments were initiated in Liechtenstein to implement the EU regulations. The EES is expected to be introduced successively by 2023.
European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)
ETIAS is a new Schengen-wide system designed to determine whether persons entering the Schengen area pose a risk of illegal immigration or a risk to security or public health. ETIAS is designed for third-country nationals who are exempt from visa requirements and who wish to travel to the Schengen area for a short stay of 90 days within a period of 180 days. They must register via ETIAS in advance of their journey.
With Bericht und Antrag 2019/82, the necessary legislative adjustments were initiated in Liechtenstein in order to implement the EU regulations. The date of commencement of the operation of the ETIAS will be determined by the EU Commission, considering various preconditions and requirements.
In the context of Schengen, interoperability means that future checks on persons can be carried out in parallel in several information systems by the competent authorities. The parallel search will be carried out via the European Search Portal (ESP). However, the current access rights held by the responsible authorities to already existing individual systems, remain unchanged.
Additional systems will be established to ensure interoperability. For example, an automated comparison of biometric data of a person is planned for the future, as well as the collection of biographic and biometric data of third-country nationals in a common repository. New possibilities will be added to reveal the true identity of persons who are registered in several information systems under false identities or multiple identities.
Two EU regulations and their national implementation create a framework for ensuring interoperability between the Entry-Exit System, the Visa Information System, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, Eurodac, the second generation Schengen Information System and the European Criminal Records Information System for third-country nationals and stateless persons.
The Bericht und Antrag 2020/66 is to initiate and ensure the national implementation of interoperability.