FBI Wants Its Database to Be Exempt from Privacy Act Legal Action
Law enforcement agencies do not see eye-to-eye with consumer privacy. The FBI now wants to ensure American can no longer sue them for violating the Privacy Act.
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That proposal was put on the table by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on May 31, 2016. The law enforcement agency wants to exempt its entire database from citizens having the right to sue the FBI for violating the Privacy Act. Among these violations is declining to tell an individual whether they are in this database or not.
But that is not all, as the FBI wants to ensure their data storehouse is exempt from other Privacy Act rules as well. Right now, citizens are eligible to ensure the information held by the government is accurate. If the law enforcement agency gets their wish, that will no longer be a possibility either.
Closing the Blinders on the FBI Database
Privacy advocates are not too pleased with this proposal, as it would virtually give the FBI “carte blanche” to use everything in their database for criminal investigations. Moreover, it would raise even more questions as to what type of information is stored in this database, and how it will be used moving forward.
It has to be said, however, the FBI is not the only entity supporting this proposal. The Justice Department is thinking along the same lines. Their official explanation is how they don’t want individuals to affect ongoing investigations once they learn they are being watched. Plus, both parties claim they only use facial recognition technology to come up with leads, rather than verify identities.
All of this information is gathered through Next Generation Identification, which was launched by the FBI back in 2008. At the time of writing, it is estimated the database contains over 100 million fingerprints of suspects and convicts. Additionally, there is a combination of over 45 million civil and convict facial photos.
There are other concerns to take into account as well. Fifty-one percent of all documented citizens in the NGI database do not have complete information. Among the missing details is information as to whether or not someone has been arrested or charged. Plus, it is not impossible this incomplete data will lead to mistakes, mislabeling people as “having been arrested” when they were not. In the long run, this could cost affected citizens future jobs.
Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Jennifer Lynch stated:
The big concern is that the FBI is proposing to exempt NGI from any requirement that they update or correct data about somebody in the future.
In the end, it is a violation of due process when random civilians are being run through the NGI database. Running a criminal background check on someone is a thorough violation of privacy. It only seems reasonable citizens have access to their own criminal records, but if it is up to the FBI, that will no longer be the case in the future.
What are your thoughts on this stance by the FBI and DOJ? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Washington Post
Images courtesy of FBI, Shutterstock