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Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes (CIS)

The purpose of this act is to assist in preventing, investigating and prosecuting serious breaches of national laws by increasing, through the rapid dissemination of information, the effectiveness of cooperation and control procedures of the customs administrations of the Member States.

ACT

Council Act 95/C316/02 of 26 July 1995 drawing up the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes.

SUMMARY

The Member State's customs authorities will set up and maintain a joint automated information system for customs purposes, hereinafter referred to as the "Customs Information System" (CIS).

The Customs Information System will consist of a central database facility accessible via terminals in each Member State. It will contain only the data, including personal data, necessary to achieve its aim, in the following categories:

  • commodities;
  • means of transport;
  • businesses;
  • persons;
  • fraud trends;
  • availability of expertise.

The Member States will determine the items to be included in the Customs Information System relating to each of the three last categories to the extent that this is necessary to achieve the aim of the system. No items of personal data will be included in the last two categories.
Personal data will be confined to:

  • name, maiden name, forenames and alias;
  • date and place of birth;
  • nationality;
  • sex;
  • any particular objective and permanent physical characteristics;
  • reason for inclusion of data;
  • suggested action;
  • warning code indicating any history of being armed, violent or escaping.

Under no circumstances may personal data listed in Article 6, first sentence, of the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data signed at Strasbourg on 28 January 1981 (the Strasbourg Convention) be included.

Direct access to data included in the Customs Information System is reserved exclusively for the national authorities designated by each Member State. These national authorities will be customs administrations, but may also include other authorities competent under the laws, regulations and procedures of the Member State in question to act in order to achieve the aim of the Convention.

Member States may only use data from the Customs Information System to achieve the Convention's aim; however, they may use it for administrative or other purposes with the prior authorisation of and subject to any conditions imposed by the Member State which entered it in the system. Such use must be in accordance with the laws, regulations and procedures of the Member State which seeks to use it and must take into account Principle 5.5 of Recommendation R (87) 15 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe dated 17 September 1987.

Inclusion of data in the Customs Information System will be governed by the laws, regulations and procedures of the supplying Member State except where the Convention lays down more stringent provisions.

Each Member State will designate a competent customs administration to have national responsibility for the Customs Information System.

That administration will be responsible for the correct operation of the System within the Member State and will take the measures necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Convention.

Only the supplying Member State will have the right to amend, supplement, correct or delete data which it has included in the Customs Information System.

Data entered in the Customs Information System will be kept only for the time necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was entered. The need for its retention will be reviewed at least once a year by the supplying Member State.

Each Member State intending to receive personal data from the Customs Information System or include it in the system must adopt national legislation sufficient to achieve a level of protection of personal data at least equivalent to that resulting from the principles of the 1981 Strasbourg Convention by the time the CIS Convention enters into force.

The rights of persons with regard to personal data in the Customs Information System, in particular their right of access, will be exercised in accordance with the laws, regulations and procedures of the Member States in which such rights are invoked.

A committee consisting of representatives from the Member State's customs administrations will be set up. It will adopt its rules of procedure unanimously.

Each Member State will designate a national supervisory authority or authorities responsible for personal data protection to carry out independent supervision of such data entered in the Customs Information System.

A Joint Supervisory Authority will be set up. It will comprise two representatives from each Member State drawn from the respective independent national supervisory authority or authorities.

All administrative measures necessary to maintain security will be taken either by the Member States' authorities or by the committee referred to in point 12, respectively for the terminals installed in the Member States and for the Customs Information System and the terminals located on the same premises as the System.

Each Member State will be responsible for the accuracy, currency and lawfulness of data it has entered in the Customs Information System. It will also be responsible for complying with Article 5 of the 1981 Strasbourg Convention.

The CIS convention will be adopted by Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

Member States will notify the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union (EU) of the completion of their constitutional requirements for adopting the Convention.

The Secretary-General of the Council of the EU will act as depository for the convention.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Council Act, 95/C 316/02After ratification-OJ C 316 of 27.11.1995

RELATED ACTS

Agreement on provisional application between certain Member States of the European Union of the Convention drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union on the use of information technology for customs purposes [Official Journal C 316 of 27.11.1995]

Council Decision of 17 October 2000 establishing a secretariat for the joint supervisory data-protection bodies set up by the Convention on the Establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention), the Convention on the Use of Information Technology for Customs Purposes and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement on the gradual abolition of checks at the common borders (Schengen Convention)[Official Journal L 271 of 24.10.2000]

Council Decision of 17 October 2000 establishing a secretariat for the joint supervisory data-protection bodies set up by the Convention on the Use of Information Technology for Customs Purposes [Official Journal L 271 of 24.10.2000]

Protocol drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on the interpretation, by way of preliminary rulings, by the Court of Justice of the European Communities of the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes - Declaration concerning the simultaneous adoption of the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes and the Protocol on the interpretation by way of preliminary rulings, by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, of that Convention - Declaration made pursuant to Article 2 [Official Journal C 151 of 20.05.1997]

On 29 November 1996 the Council adopted an act drawing up, on the basis of Article K.3 (now Article 31) of the Treaty of the European Union, the Protocol on the interpretation, by way of preliminary rulings, by the Court of Justice to the European Communities of the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes.

Council Act of 12 March 1999 drawing up, on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, the Protocol on the scope of the laundering of proceeds in the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes and the inclusion of the registration number of the means of transport in the Convention [Official Journal C 91 of 31.03.1999]

On 12 March 1999 the Council adopted a second Protocol on the scope of the laundering of proceeds in the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes and the inclusion of the registration number of the means of transport in the Convention.
The aim is to widen the concept of the laundering of proceeds and add the data category "registration number of the means of transport" to the Customs Information System.

Protocol on the customs files identification database: Council act of 8 May 2003 drawing up a Protocol amending, as regards the creation of a customs files identification database, the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes [Official Journal C 139 of 13.06.2003]

Implementing the conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999 and in accordance with the 2001 strategy for the customs union, this protocol provides for the creation of a special database called the "customs files identification database", which will enable Member State authorities responsible for customs investigations to exchange information on investigations carried out on persons or businesses in other Member States.

Last updated: 23.06.2006
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