Coordination of supervision of the CIS

The Customs Information System (CIS) centralises the customs information to prevent infringements of the community customs or agricultural legislation, to investigate them and to follow up on them.

The Customs Information System (CIS) is an information system that centralises the customs information to prevent infringements of the community customs or agricultural legislation, to investigate them and to follow up on them.

The CIS is regulated by a dual legal basis:

  • Council Regulation (EC) no. 515/97 dated 13 March 1997 concerning the mutual assistance between the administrative authorities of the member countries and the cooperation between these authorities and the Commission in view of the correct application of the customs and agricultural legislation (hereinafter referred to as “Decree (EC) no. 515/97"), as amended in Decree (EC) no. 766/2008 dated 9 July 2008, and
  • Council Decision 2009/917/JBZ dated 30 November 2009 concerning the use of IT in the field of customs (hereinafter referred to as “Decision 2009/917/JBZ").

The FIDE (reference file of the investigation file in the customs field) is a European index that is used within the framework of the CIS. It consists of investigation files that are prepared by the customs and other investigation authorities of the member countries for administrative purposes and for the purpose of customs examination and criminal procedures.

When entering a detailed application, FIDE provides information about:

  • the name and the address of the investigating authority, and
  • the number of the investigation file of the authority,
    in cases where information is available in the files of ongoing or completed investigations against natural or legal persons ("hits"). The office that has submitted the request can then decide to request mutual assistance or voluntarily furnish information.

Legal basis of FIDE

The FIDE consists of two databases given the two legal bases that are applicable to it, namely:

  • Regulation (EC) no. 515/97 which concerns the fields that fall under the exclusive competence of the EU (article 3 of the convention concerning the working of the European Union).
  • Decision 2009/917/JBZ for the field in which the EU shares competence with the member countries (article 4 of the convention concerning the working of the European Union).

Categories of processed information

The data that is entered in the CIS is thus related to goods, transport vehicles, companies and persons that are associated with these criminal offences. They also concern the evolution of the fraud, the available skills, the seized goods or those declared forfeited, and the detention, confiscation or forfeiture of cash.

Categories of processed personal data

The personal data that may be processed in the CIS, is listed in article 25, section 2, of Regulation (EC) no. 515/97 and article 4, section 2, of Decision 2009/917/JBZ and may only contain the following data:

  1. the surname, the maiden name, first names and the general name;
  2. date and place of birth;
  3. the nationality;
  4. the sex;
  5. all special objective and permanent physical features;
  6. the reasons for the recording of the data;
  7. the proposed measures;
  8. a warning code that indicates any history of weapons, violence or escape;
  9. the registration number of the vehicle.

Under no circumstances is personal data included from which the racial or ethnic origin, the political views, the religious or philosophical beliefs, the membership of a trade union or data that concerns the health or the sexual life of a person are revealed.

System architecture

The CIS consists of a central database ("SID central") which is accessible for terminals in every member country.

To coordinate the control of the customs information system ("DIS"), representatives of the national data protection authorities ("national GBA") and the EDPS usually meet once a year, immediately after the Joint Supervisory Body for Customs ("GCO Douane"). The national GBAs represented in it are the ones from the 28 member countries of the EU. The group is presently chaired by the Polish GBA. To facilitate a good cooperation with the GCO Douane, the chairman of the GCO is usually elected as the chairman of the CIS control coordination group, as is the case presently.

In Belgium, the right to access the data processed in the customs information system is indirect. It is exercised by an intervention of the Data Protection Authority.

The person concerned must submit a dated and signed written request that can be sent by ordinary post or by email to:

Data Protection Authority
Drukpersstraat 35
1000 Brussels

The procedure is free. The request can be submitted in one of the three official languages. It is also possible to communicate with the Authority in English.

After its control, the Authority only informs the person concerned, in principle,  that the necessary verifications have been carried out.