In an organisation like Europol, which facilitates and relies on the exchange of information, the secure and swift transmission of sensitive and restricted data is essential.
The Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) is a state-of-the-art platform that meets the communication needs of EU law enforcement
The platform enables the swift and user-friendly exchange of operational and strategic crime-related information among:
- Europol’s liaison officers, analysts and experts
- Member States
- third parties with which Europol has cooperation agreements.
Launched on 1 July 2009, the following year the following entities and countries started using it:
- EU law-enforcement agencies
- cooperating partners such as Eurojust, Frontex, OLAF and Interpol
- cooperating states outside the EU, such as Australia, Canada, Norway, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Switzerland and the United States.
Access continues to be extended in 2020.
In more recent years, access to SIENA has also been afforded to specialized law-enforcement units and various initiatives, such as the asset-recovery offices (AROs), police customs cooperation centres (PCCCs), passenger-information units (PIUs), financial intelligence units (FIUs), fugitive active search teams (ENFAST), special tactics units (ATLAS), Nordic LOs initiative and Lake of Constance initiative.
A tool was added to SIENA that allowed it to handle restricted content on counter terrorism. In response, counter terrorism units connected to the platform, thus enhancing the exchange of information and intelligence in this key area. In the beginning of 2020, 49 counter-terrorism authorities were connected to dedicated SIENA counter-terrorism environment.
Europol’s Strategy 2020+ calls for the further roll-out and development of SIENA by advancing Europol’s information management architecture and rapidly embracing new methods and technologies as they become available.
SIENA is compliant with all the legal requirements for data protection and confidentiality.
SIENA is key to making Europol the EU information hub on crime. It brings Europol closer to the front line of law enforcement, particularly when it comes to promoting and enhancing the exchange of information on counter-terrorism.
Under a pilot programme agreed between Europol and the German Federal Criminal Police Office in 2015, SIENA is being rolled out to the central police offices in all federal states in Germany.
Future plans include rolling out the system to regional initiatives.
There are also plans to provide machine translations of SIENA messages into other EU languages.
Information exchange via SIENA in 2019:
- 85 thousand new cases were initiated (a 28 % increase over 2017 ; 10 % increase over 2018).
- 1.24 million operational messages were exchanged (12% more than in 2018)
- 1 800 competent national authorities from 49 countries and 14 international partners (it is foreseen that in 2020 the number of connected competent authorities will exceed 2 000 )
- There were more than 12 000 active SIENA users.