back to article Blighty quietly signs deal to read giant EU border control database

The UK is to gain access to the EU’s massive border control database under a new agreement signed in Brussels on Tuesday. According to the Home Office, “more foreign terrorists, murderers and paedophiles will be kept out of the country” thanks to the deal agreed at the General Affairs Council, a meeting of interior ministers …

  1. TechnicianJack
    Facepalm

    O RLY?

    According to the Home Office, “more foreign terrorists, murderers and paedophiles will be kept out of the country”

    Unless they own a cat or a goldfish, then they can stay at the taxpayer's expense.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Richard Jones 1
        Mushroom

        Re: O RLY?

        The cat might get all the headlines but the drunks on drugs who kill and maim even though their claimed religion bars such activities then stay at our expense to 'be with' the illegitimate children they never see also exist. Sadly bad cases make bad laws but really crap application of half way passable laws do no better.

        The possibility that politically motivated clerks might sandbag and subvert legislative efforts should not be discounted. Since some have already been exposed that risk appears clear.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cake *and* eat it ?

    One of the myths we were sold the Common Market on (yes, Cameron boy - there are those old enough to recall the lies) was free movement.

    Oh, hang on, that's Schengen - the UK doesn't "do" Schengen.

    If the UK wants access to Schengen data, it should have been required to join the Schengen agreement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cake *and* eat it ?

      The Schengen area has to keep all those pesky british terrorists, murderers and paedophiles from reaching their shores somehow ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cake *and* eat it ?

      Yes we should join the Schengen agreement, but then again Asylum seekers should be deported instantly back to the country of origin unless they claim in the first EU country they enter....

      Illegal immigrants should also be deported instantly...

      Legal immigration is great, but our government is stupid, they can't do anything about EU immigration, so instead they overcompensate by cracking down on non EU immigration to the detriment of our country...

      But while Theresa May is the Home Secretary don't expect any sense on immigration, crime or similar... she quite ignorant on most topics...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: Cake *and* eat it ?

        Illegal immigrants should also be deported instantly...

        Are you REALLY that stupid? Do you have a bloody clue about immigration other than the shit UKIP and the Daily Wail print?

        Say you are, I don't know, a member of the opposition in some war torn country run by a depot dictator. Your husband has been hacked to death and your daughters raped

        Do you:

        a) Apply to the same government in order to get a travel visa, then wait 6 months for the UK to respond to see if you are allowed in finally get on a plane, which of course has the same security teams that ruined your life.

        or

        b) get the fuck out of there.

        1. earl grey Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Cake *and* eat it ?

          depot dictator?

          It's even worse with despot dictators....

      2. earl grey Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Cake *and* eat it ?

        Just be happy you don't have a border with Mexico and having a third of your population having just walked over the line. Ditto for those on Le Mer who have the joy of having people jump fences or pile into boats to escape their miserable circumstances and try to get a better life elsewhere.

        I suppose the haters would just as soon sink the boats and shoot the line crossers to keep them out.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cake *and* eat it ?

      If the UK wants access to Schengen data, it should have been required to join the Schengen agreement.

      It cannot - it needs a working identity database cross-indexed with a few others and granular access control to it. The access part is criticial - f.e. the council clerk filling a report for unpaid divorce settlement should never be able to see out-of-scope data. As the history of police personnel being fired for looking up celebrities (in the few cases where they got caught) and RIPA council practices of electronic surveilance of parents shows UK just does not fit the bill there.

      The current "snooping rights to everyone" legislative landscape combined with major consluttancy parasitism on HO and HMRC contracts guarantees that the chance of a working SI2 compliant database being delivered is roughly the same as Lucipher to snowplough the M11. This agreement is just UK and EU facing realities - UK cannot get anywhere near the quality and access control of the database backends run by an average ex-Warsaw pact country (not even talking about Scandinavia or Germany) and EU no longer has the expectation that it ever will.

    4. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: free movement - that's Schengen

      Well, Schengen makes the free movement simpler, yes, but all you need is an EU passport and you have free movement even in non-Schengen EU states.

      I'm not sure how much benefit there would be from implementing Schengen in an island nation with no common borders to neighbours, anyway.

      I've had my own experience of Schengen, when travelling from Finland to Estonia by ferry. I love the idea but I must admit it scared the crap out of me, all these people in the ferry terminal, the destination country assuming that they were OK because the country of departure *obviously* screened them with the diligence required by the Schengen Agreement on the way in, so they must be fine. That's a lot of trust to put in your neighbours.

  3. EssEll

    WT actual F?

    "(in other words, witnesses)."

    Feck the fecking hell out of here, and feck your cat too while you're at it. This thing stores witness information?? Remind me never to claim to be a witness to a crime.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: WT actual F?

      You mean you object to your information being stored in a massive database where the criminals can easily bribe or hack their way to it? How could they possibly have thought of that when they were setting it up?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WT actual F?

        a massive database

        it's actually three databases, server iron is based in Strasbourg France, with backup/admin in Tallinn Estonia and a mountain vaguely in Austria, according to public info around the Prüm Decision

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WT actual F?

        You mean you object to your information being stored in a massive database where the criminals can easily bribe or hack their way to it?

        The exact point of Shengen requirements is the extremely tight role based access control to the database. Yeah - sure even a mere "marital status" clerk in some in the middle of nowhere in let's say Poland can key in data related to marital status, payments, etc. He can also check those for a person (leaving a hefty audit trail behind). You _CAN_ also bribe the clerk. Now try to get some other, more "interesting" data from that terminal with his credentials. I suggest you have a fairly fast getaway vehicle as one of the really unpleasant parts of the local police will be there in a jiffie and if they do not nab you on the spot you can pretty much say hello to being towards the top of the Europol most wanted list.

        It is also the part which UK cannot implement and thus is out. In fact it does not want to - just read the RIPA for a shining example why.

  4. An0n C0w4rd
    WTF?

    Why was some of this not in other databases?

    "37,000 European Arrest Warrants and 60,000 missing children and vulnerable adults" - shouldn't that be in a police database that we already have access to?

    Likewise the identity document alert we should have had access to when it's checked with the country of issue (which I hope we do for all the time people stand waiting at the border for the border computer to process the document). if not, wtf are we waiting for?

    1. EssEll

      Re: Why was some of this not in other databases?

      "Likewise the identity document alert we should have had access to when it's checked with the country of issue"

      Was that not e-Borders*?

      *R.I.P.

  5. D Moss Esq

    It seems like only six years ago ...

    ... that we read in the Observer:

    Britain's police forces are still unable to use a pan-European database of criminals, prompting warnings that this could hinder their ability to track terror suspects entering Europe ahead of the Olympics.

    The UK was given access to sensitive information on criminal and policing matters held on the Schengen Information System, an EU-wide directory, in 2000, but there have been repeated technical problems ...

    Experts say the database could form a powerful weapon in the fight against crime and terrorism. In the past, Home Office officials have said that connecting British forces to the system had proved impossible due to technical difficulties and "acts of God", such as a fire that destroyed vital IT equipment.

    How time flies.

    Faster and faster.

    The Guardian reported in July 2007 that:

    Interpol said last night that the UK makes just 50 checks a month of the database; France by comparison makes 700,000 checks and Switzerland makes 300,000 ...

    Mr Noble [the head of Interpol] said that Gordon Brown's promise last week to share a list of potential terrorists with other countries had yet to materialize. "British citizens might be surprised to find that this watch list announced by your prime minister last week has not been sent to Interpol," he said. "Why is it that some countries make sure passengers do not carry a bottle of spring water on to a plane, yet aren't careful to ensure convicted felons aren't entering their borders with stolen passports?"

    And it was just over 10 years ago in December 2004 when the BBC told us that Interpol had complained that passport numbers aren't checked on entry to the UK – Interpol has a database of 5 million stolen passports, the EU has a database of 10 million lost and stolen passports and the UK doesn't check people on entry against either of them.

    Border security has been away from the UK on a long eOdyssey. Will it really come home on 13.4.15?

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: Will it really

      Only if it is actively checked against which will only happen if it is integrated into existing checking database/query systems which, if it happens at all (money, contracts, competency etc...), won't happen for a long time to come. Like another 10 years, I'd say.

    2. W T Riker

      Re: It seems like only six years ago ...

      Indeed it was over six years ago.

      And, then the Coalition Government came into power, had a "bonfire of quangos" and slashed project budgets - including SIS II, so that it took longer to deliver.

  6. Graham Marsden
    Facepalm

    "terrorists, murderers and paedophiles"

    ... Oh my!

  7. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    s/county/country/ in the above and see what s load of bollocks it is.

    Lancastrians out of Yorks, I say. as for the buggers from notts...

  8. Sludged

    The last time I was at Dover...

    ... heading onto the ferry the French border official just leaned out his little window, gave a thumbs up and a big cheesey grin as the Mrs waved passports of various colours at him. (The Mrs has a different coloured passport to the rest of us).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK has been entitled to access Data on SIS II for years....

    ...it just never had a system that was capable of interfacing with it.

    The UK actually sponsors the Schengen Information System with a lot of money (it's the first or second largest contributor), even though it actually doesn't sign up to the Schengen Accord... a slot on the original SIS was available for the UK (in case it actually decided to join Schengen). SISII was originally supposed to replace SIS years ago (it ran late) and was to cater for all of the original members signed up to SIS, plus a bunch of additional countries, which SIS did not then have the capacity for.

    Roughly every 4 years the UK tries to build something with the capability to talk to the current version of the Schengen Information System, the previous two projects failed... the last one stopped when the coalition government came in to power and government departments were asked to make savings immediately. When ConDem asked for these savings, most gov depts did this by halting the projects they were currently running and getting rid of contractors and operational costs for those projects... one such organisation that undertook these cost saving measures was the Serious Organised Crime Agency as then was (now the National Crime Agency).

    The NCA is the responsible entity for dealing with SISII, Interpol and Europol, all international policing efforts are co-ordinated through it's central bureaux. E-borders and other systems would have conducted searches against a local replica of SISII that would be held by NCA, some rules governing SISII data meant that the data was not allowed to be transferred out of SISII en mass (data is owned by the country that submits the data, the local Schengen bureaux - NCA in the UK - is responsible for being the guardian of the data in each country), so if you wanted to reference data on SISII you have to search SIS II, you cant just take an export of the data and hold it locally in your own system, it's not allowed to have your own copy, because SISII holds a centralised audit record of what data is accessed and by who. UK spooks didn't like this much, because they didn't want someone else (i.e. the other Schengen countries) knowing who their persons of interest were, which is information that could be easily acquired from the search audit.

    If this is now happening, then something may have fundamentally changed, either in terms of how the UK proposes to use the data (or at least in how it overtly uses the data), or in the restrictions that SISII has around the usage of the data and the auditing of access.

    Anon for obvious reasons.

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