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JHA Roadmap on interoperability: Agencies get moving

- "Where necessary, change national practice to ensure that both law enforcement authorities and security services can insert alerts in the SIS directly without interference of judicial authorities."
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The Council Presidency has produced an updated version of: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area: Update following Council Conclusions on interoperability (LIMITE doc no: 12223-ADD-1-17, pdf).

It builds on the report of the High Level Working Group on interoperability together with the response of the Council and Commission to its recommendations: EU wastes no time welcoming prospect of Big Brother databases (Statewatch News):

On 11 May 2017 the EU's High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability published its final report. Its principal conclusions call for the creation in the Justice and Home Affairs area, of the "interoperability" of databases which means the creation of of:

"a single-search interface [SSI] to query several information systems simultaneously and to produce combined results on one single screen;

the establishment of a shared biometric matching service and

a common repository of data for different information systems."

The Roadmap sets out Objectives, Actions, Responsible Parties and Stakeholders (eg: Europol, Frontex, Eurojust, SIS, Sirene bureaux) for better information management and exchange in the area of law enforcement and judicial cooperation:

"A) The Commission to work towards a European search portal capable of searching in parallel all relevant EU systems in the areas of border, security and asylum. The possibility of access to Europol data through the European search portal should also be examined together with Europol, and it should be explored, in consultation with Interpol, whether Interpol's databases could be accessed through a European search portal and, if so, which databases and under what conditions.

B) Explore the future implementation of a shared biometric matching service for all types of biometric data and analyse its use for the purpose of flagging the existence of biometric data from other systems, including the analysis, together with Europol, of how such a shared biometric matching service could also be used to cross-check Europol data.

C) explore the future establishment of a common identity repository, including examining, together with Europol, the possibility of including Europol data in such repository."
[emphasis added throughout]

Enhance the effectiveness of using the Schengen Information System (SIS)

"Law enforcement, border guard authorities and immigration services should include, when available, identifiers in alerts (copy passport, digital photo, biometrics, DNA-profiles to be considered) on the basis of existing legal provisions; enable searches on fingerprints and provision of facial image feedback in the case of a hit. The workload for SIRENE Bureaux and other practitioners should be assessed when further pursuing this action including through solutions to interpret information easily.

Implementation of an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) functionality in the SIS within the central as well as national system. (...)

Consider a solution to allow the reciprocal exchange of information between Schengen, non-Schengen Member States and Member States who are partially using the instruments associated with Schengen."

Improving the use of SIS

"Create a new type of action (inquiry checks)"

"Make possible that SIS alerts can call for preliminary and temporary holding or detention where sufficient national legal grounds are available."

"Strengthen effective discreet and specific checks"

Ensure that end users are equipped to conduct discreet and (where national legal ground are available) specific checks."

Closing the information gap - updating and creating systems

"entry and exit at the EU external borders and of third country nationals..." and:

"Registering entry and exit at the EU external borders of persons enjoying free movement. Commission to explore as soon as possible, after discussions among the relevant stakeholders about the possible need for the systematic recording of border crossings of all EU citizens, the proportionality and feasibility of such systematic recording, for example, in a dedicated database."

Despite the fact that PRUM is a nationally-based system:

"A) Ensure full use of Prüm possibilities to exchange fingerprints, dna and vehicle registration data .... Undertake required follow-up steps to enforce connections of Member States to the Prüm network.

B) Identify key obstacles for:

i: the connection to the Prüm network; ii: the full use of Prüm possibilities; iii: solve the obstacles."

Finally under "Completed actions"

"Ensure that both law enforcement authorities and security services can quickly enter alerts into the SIS.

Where necessary, change national practice to ensure that both law enforcement authorities and security services can insert alerts in the SIS directly without interference of judicial authorities."


- EU: Improving "information management and the cross-border exchange of information, including interoperability of systems" (Statewatch News)

- Council: EU JHA agencies want access to all fingerprints, palm prints and facial images held under interoperability plans (Statewatch News)

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