Long-term residents could find their sensitive personal data stored indefinitely, under new proposals for the EU’s Visa Information System (VIS). This poses privacy and data protection risks, according to latest Opinion from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
VIS holds data on over 52 million visitors to the EU. Current plans could extend that by 20 million people, including all non-EU citizens residing in EU Member States. The EU proposes to revise the current Visa Information System and widen its scope. To explore the impact, the European Parliament asked FRA to provide its Opinion on the fundamental rights implications of revising the Visa Information System.
This Opinion advises the EU on how to avoid potential fundamental rights risks when implementing the Visa Information System. It focuses on core data protection principles of only processing as much data as is needed and of using data only for the purposes for which they were collected. It also underlines the need to pay particular attention to several other rights, for example, the right to asylum, child rights, non-discrimination and access to justice. Some of the findings include:
VIS was rolled out in November 2015. It was created to help handling applications for short-stay visas to Schengen countries for up to 90 days.
FRA issues Opinions on specific thematic topics, following requests for advice from the European Parliament, the EU Council or the European Commission. These Opinions are part of the Agency's fundamental rights assistance and expertise that it provides to EU institutions and Member States.