Why is the FBI Merging Criminal & Civil Fingerprints into a Single Database?

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Published on: September 24, 2015

Talk about 1984. While employers and others have been fingerprinting people for decades, even though they weren’t criminals, the Federal Bureau of Investigations apparently weren’t interested in that particular data. Now they are, and I’m pretty sure, it’s unconstitutional.

Jennifer Lynch at the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports:

Being a job seeker isn’t a crime. But the FBI has made a big change in how it deals with fingerprints that might make it seem that way. For the first time, fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a background check will be stored and searched right along with fingerprints taken for criminal purposes.

The change, which the FBI revealed quietly in a February 2015 Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), means that if you ever have your fingerprints taken for licensing or for a background check, they will most likely end up living indefinitely in the FBI’s NGI database. They’ll be searched thousands of times a day by law enforcement agencies across the country—even if your prints didn’t match any criminal records when they were first submitted to the system.

This is the first time the FBI has allowed routine criminal searches of its civil fingerprint data. Although employers and certifying agencies have submitted prints to the FBI for decades, the FBI says it rarely retained these non-criminal prints. And even when it did retain prints in the past, they “were not readily accessible or searchable.” Now, not only will these prints—and the biographical data included with them—be available to any law enforcement agent who wants to look for them, they will be searched as a matter of course along with all prints collected for a clearly criminal purpose (like upon arrest or at time of booking).

This seems part of an ever-growing movement toward cataloguing information on everyone in America—and a movement that won’t end with fingerprints. With the launch of the face recognition component of NGI, employers and agencies will be able to submit a photograph along with prints as part of the standard background check. As we’ve noted before, one of FBI’s stated goals for NGI is to be able to track people as they move from one location to another. Having a robust database of face photos, built out using non-criminal records, will only make that goal even easier to achieve.

This change will impact a broad swath of Americans. It’s not just prospective police officers or childcare workers who have to submit to fingerprint background checks. In Texas, for example, you’ll need to give the government your prints if you want to be an engineer, doctor, realtor, stockbroker, attorney, or even an architect. The California Department of Justice says it submits 1.2 million sets of civil prints to the FBI annually. And, since 1953, all jobs with thefederal government have required a fingerprint check—not just for jobs requiring a security clearance, but even for part-time food service workersstudent internsdesignerscustomer service representatives, and maintenance workers.

The FBI, which I believe is just another agency, like the ATF and other alphabet agencies, that is not outlined in the Constitution, has been developing and cataloging data gathered by facial recognition and expanding its biometrics programs into a Next Generation Indentification database.

The question should be asked, just who gave authority for this data to be collected by the feds in the first place? I don’t see it in the Constitution. I don’t believe it will actually help the FBI. After all, aren’t these the same guys who can’t seem to put two and two together when it comes to 9/11 jihadis? Arent’ they the same agency that can’t get the goods on the domestic terrorist in the White House?

Let’s not forget that this piece of news comes as it appears that Americans who travel on domestic flights in the united States will also have to have a passport soon to do so. However, if you’re an illegal alien and you break immigration laws and make it over the border, then you can be escorted onto domestic flights without any proper identification.

With the confirmation that the NSA has been unconstitutionally surveilling the American public without obtaining warrants per the Fourth Amendment, the Congress illegally authorizing the indefinite detention of individuals without due process, which is protected under the Fifth Amendment, and now a beast-like database with fingerprints, facial recognition and other biometric data of those who are not even accused of a crime is beyond tyrannical, and you know as well as I do that someone will eventually take the reins of this beast and seek to devour the American people.

Lynch commented, “This violates our democratic ideals and our societal belief that we should not treat people as criminals until they are proven guilty.”

Somehow, I don’t believe this has one thing to do with catching criminals, will be used for more control. George Orwell would be shaking his head right now and saying, “I told you so.”

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