UK authorities have made illegal copies of data from the Schengen Information System, aka SIS. This is a database run by the EU storing information such as personal details, fingerprints and arrest warrants. The details of more than 500,000 non-EU citizens are on the Schengen database. These are details of people denied entry into countries in Europe.
In addition, the details of more than 100,000 missing people are on the database along with personal details of over 36,000 criminal suspects.
The sole purpose of the Schengen Information System is to help countries in the EU manage access to the Schengen travel zone, which is passport-free. While the United Kingdom is not a member of the zone, the country had access to the database in 2015.
The UK is behind years of violations
In 2018, EU Observer reporters managed to get hold of a secret EU report. The report claimed that the UK authorities were behind years of violations.
In the report, it was stated UK officials had made copies of the database. Worse still was the fact that copies were stored at airports, along with other unsafe conditions.
Additionally, by taking copies of the Schengen database it meant that the United Kingdom was working using databases that were outdated.
As the United Kingdom worked on an outdated database, it meant they did not know if a person was still on the SIS database or taken off. This could have led to unnecessary detainment according to the report.
Along with this, the UK did not know if names had been added. This meant criminals would have been able to travel through the United Kingdom and into the Schengen travel zone.
The UK also provided details to others
The report also suggested the UK misused, along with mismanaging data. The country also provided access to information that is highly sensitive and secret. The information included data from US companies and third-party contractors.
One of the main concerns in the report is that the United Kingdom allowed contractors to copy information in the Schengen database. Along with this, the UK allowed officials in the US to ask contractors for access to the database under the US Patriot Act.
When news first leaked of report authorities in the EU did not confirm the validity. However, this week officials in the EU accidentally admitted the existence of the report along with accuracy.
The European Commissioner for Security, Julian King, was asked about the report earlier in the week. He said, “Those are meant to be confidential discussions that we have with the individual member states.”
Now, Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament, Sophie in’t Veld has said that due to the comments the European Commission has to make a public report.
Veld wants the Commission to reveal the depth of the misuse of highly sensitive data.
Worried about data loss? Use a VPN!
You can protect personal information using a VPN. ExpressVPN, for example, offers military-grade encryption. Along with this, you can mask your own IP address and take on one from any supported server by the provider.
To maintain security and anonymity online make sure your VPN does not keep any log. This ensures the provider cannot pass on any information to governments if asked.
With a Virtual Private Network in place any information, such as bank and credit card details, remain safe as they become unreadable.
Also, be aware that some VPN providers fall under the Five and 14 Eyes intelligence alliances. ExpressVPN has its base in the British Virgin Islands, which means it is outside of the watchful eyes of the alliance. One thing is sure, you’ll be totally safe with ExpressVPN.
Alison has joined the team in the early stage because she wanted to share with us the experience she had while using VPNs over the last few years. As she’s travelled a lot, she tested many VPNs and wanted to share this with you. Alison cares about staying anonymous and not leaving any footprints on the internet. Therefore, you won’t have the chance to see her face ;).