By Barbora Lezatkova
Schengen Information System Implemented in the Czech Republic
On 21 December 2007, the Czech Republic joined the Schengen system. Internal border controls were abolished, although controls at international airports will only be cancelled at the end of March 2008.
The majority of Schengen data protection principles and rules had already been incorporated into Czech legal regulations. However, a new amendment to certain laws (Act no. 170/2007 Coll., on amendments to certain laws in connection with the accession of the Czech Republic to the Schengen territory) has had to be adopted to allow the full operation of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the Czech Republic. Special laws now explicitly stipulate that personal data can be transferred abroad within the framework of the SIS to the extent and for the purposes specified in the Agreement Implementing the Convention of 1990.
SIS — as an information database — centralises data provided by all Schengen member states. It contains a large quantity of personal information, including sensitive data (namely information on persons who are not nationals of a member state of the Schengen area and who are banned from entry into the Schengen territory; information related to missing persons or persons who need to be placed under protection; information on witnesses and persons convened for criminal hearings; and information on stolen or missing vehicles and objects, such as identity papers).
The Czech authorities have implemented strict internal rules that govern the processing of personal data contained in the SIS. These are enforced internally by each responsible authority and externally by the Czech Data Protection Office.
Any individual — regardless of nationality — may ask the data controller (i.e., in the Czech Republic, the police) for information on any of his or her personal data that is processed within the SIS. Individuals also may bypass the data controller and address their queries directly to the Data Protection Office.
Barbora Lezatkova is an Advokatka at Linklaters, v.o.s., advokatni kancelafi, based in Prague. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (420) 221 622 111.