FBI proposes that its biometrics database should be excluded from privacy laws

May 9, 2016 - 

The FBI proposed last week that its biometric database be excluded from several provisions of the U.S. Privacy Act, which states that all federal agencies must notify individuals about any records they acquire and retain regarding them, according to a report by Softpedia.

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification System (NGIS) is a database that contains the biometrics data (fingerprints, eye scans, facial scans, and DNA samples) of both criminals and non-criminals in the U.S.

The NGIS is often used to identify crime suspects, and while in past times the database was rarely used, with the emergence of modern biometrics authentication systems, the database’s importance has grown tenfold because it also allows the FBI access to locked devices.

In addition to containing details of individuals who have committed crime, the controversial database also includes the information of people who have been fingerprinted or iris scanned for jobs, security clearances, or licenses.

As a result, any individual who has ever served in the military in a voluntary role, applied for a government job, or interacted with the government for naturalization, documents, and other processes is currently in the database.

With this latest proposal, the FBI is looking to conceal the database’s activities as well as the individuals it retains.

Last year, after a drawn-out court battle, the Electronic Frontier Foundation found out that the NGIS already had the information of over 52 million people out of the country’s 320 million population.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.