UK mismanaged, made copies of secret SIS database managed by EU: Report

Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags opposite the Houses of Parliament, in London
Brexit Reuters

UK authorities have made unauthorized copies of data stored inside a European Union's database for tracking several undocumented migrants, missing people, stolen cars or alleged criminals, alleged new reports.

The EU-run database, called the Schengen Information System (SIS), is the most widely used and largest information sharing system for security and border management in Europe. It was created to help the EU countries manage access to the passport-free Schengen travel zone.

It stores all the details such as names, photographs, fingerprints and arrest warrants for 500,000 non-EU citizens denied entry into Europe, over 100,000 missing people as well as over 36,000 criminal suspects.

It should be noted that even though UK is not an official member of the Schengen zone, it was allowed to access to this database in 2015.

In May 2018 EU Observer obtained a report which showed that over the years UK authorities have conducted violations in managing the SIS database, and as per the secret report, many officials in Uk made copies of the SIS database and stored it at airports and ports without bothering about the security and sensitivity of these documents. Since the authorities made copies, it can be believed that UK was always working with outdated versions of the database.

As a whole, that means officials wouldn't know in time if a person was removed from SIS, or if a person was added to the database. Because of this confusion, the officers may have allowed criminals to move through the UK and into the Schengen travel zone while posing unnecessary detainments to a free person.

The report also revealed the UK authority mismanaged and misused the data by providing unsanctioned access to the database to the third-party contractors, which also includes American companies such as IBM, ATOS and CGI. Doing this, UK also allowed the third parties to copy the secret data and also allowed the US officials to request the database from a contractor under the US Patriot Act., said the report.

Schengen Visa Info and EU Observer, earlier this week reported that when asked about the report European Commissioner for Security Julian King stated that "those are meant to be confidential discussions that we have with the individual member states. It is not just one member state that has some challenges in this area, there are a number of member states that have challenges in this area."

After the comments came out from Julian King a Dutch politician and a Member of the European Parliament, Sophie in 't Veld took this issue to social media, requesting European Commission to make the report public and reveal the intensity of the violation committed by UK.