Under Act No. 153/1994 Coll., on the Intelligence Services of the Czech Republic, the Security Information Service (BIS) is responsible for acquiring, collecting and evaluating information concerning:
- terrorist threats
- activities jeopardizing the security or major economic interests of the State
- activities of foreign intelligence services in the territory of the Czech Republic
- intents or acts aimed at undermining democratic foundations, sovereignty or territorial integrity of the Czech Republic
- organized crime
- activities posing a threat to classified information
The BIS has been appointed the central intelligence service responsible for processing analytical and field intelligence related to the security of the Czech Republic and to the fight against terrorism. Nowadays, terrorism is an international phenomenon affecting the whole world, and therefore the BIS focuses on international cooperation in this area. Combating terrorism is characterized by a pragmatic approach to assessing potential threats to the interests of the Czech Republic and to evaluating the possibility of an attack on buildings, citizens or interests of other states carried out in the Czech Republic. The BIS is also interested in activities aimed at recruiting new members, obtaining financial or logistic support for terrorism and at promoting radical interpretations of ideologies or religions supporting terrorist activities.
Protection of major economic interests
The BIS informs authorized state representatives about risks threatening major economic interests of the Czech Republic. The goal of the BIS is to provide information on the risks to relevant addressees in a timely manner and to ensure that they have all relevant information crucial for their key economic decisions – e.g. information on external attempts to influence these decisions, on the plans of entities posing threats or on covert interests tied to these plans.
The BIS as a counterintelligence service identifies activities undertaken by foreign powers and by natural or legal persons (mainly intelligence services of foreign powers) acting in the interest of foreign powers in the Czech Republic. The BIS keeps track of these activities and gathers information about them. The BIS fulfills both the informative and the preventive function of counterintelligence and aims to avoid classified and sensitive information and device leaks to foreign powers; openly or discreetly hinder the activities of intelligence services of foreign powers; and detect and disrupt operations extending the influence of foreign powers (disinformation, manipulation, deceit, propaganda, etc.).
Protection of constitutionality and democratic principles
The BIS looks into the activities of entities that openly or covertly profess ideologies incompatible with the legal system and democratic foundations of the Czech Republic; are engaged in politically, economically or socially motivated activities, instigate actions against the democratic system of the Czech Republic, promote the use of violence against representatives of the democratic system of the Czech Republic, their ideological opponents and other groups of citizens, and call for the limitation of the rights of certain groups of citizens.
Trade in military equipment and proliferation
In securing information on trade in military equipment and proliferation the BIS cooperates with the following institutions: the Licensing Office of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the State Office for Nuclear Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance (the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic, the Financial Analytical Unit), and the Ministry of the Interior. The goal is to block deliveries when the items are demanded and a trade is prepared. As far as international trade in military equipment is concerned, the BIS aims to minimize the risks posed by exports to countries which do not provide sufficient guarantees that they will not excessively stockpile lethal weapons, use them for repression or for re-export to other countries posing risks.
The BIS focuses mainly on informal non-institutionalized structures taking the form of lobbyist and clientelistic networks. In some cases these networks create parallel power structures threatening to disrupt or disrupting the activities of state authorities and local administration bodies. Occasionally, legal persons - difficult to punish given the character of their activities - have close ties to the above mentioned structures.
The BIS looks into various types of cyber attacks affecting protected interests of the Czech Republic. Furthermore, it gathers and analyses information on real or potential threats and risks related to the existence of strategic information and communication systems. The destruction or disruption of such systems could seriously impact the security of the Czech Republic and the country’s economic interests. The above mentioned systems include: systems run by state offices, public administration authorities and other juridical persons also from the private sector. The general perception is that these systems are protected by heightened security given their importance or their potential inclusion on the list of critical infrastructure entities in the Czech Republic.
Protection of classified information
Every state protects information important for its security and functioning by classifying it in different categories depending on its security implications. The task for the Service is to protect people and entities who work with classified information (under Act. No. 412/2005 Coll., on the Protection of Classified Information), and to evaluate and highlight key points where there is a danger of disclosure. If the BIS identifies warning indications of an attempt at a breach of information security, it takes action to eliminate them. It also investigates the background of activities endangering the security of classified information, the seriousness of the security threat involved, the scope of potential consequences etc.