FBI Wants Your Biometric Data Left Out of the Privacy Act

The FBI’s proposal to exempt a large identification database from certain provisions of the federal Privacy act is coming under fire lately by several Civil Liberties groups. The proposal would make it harder for people to know if personal information about them, like fingerprints and iris scans are on file or not.


The Next Generation Identification system, hold a vast amount of biometric information like fingerprints, palm prints, photos and iris scans. The data base holds photos submitted by law enforcement, as well as millions of fingerprints of Americans who have undergone background checks.

The suggested Privacy Act exemption is needed “to prevent interference with the FBI’s mission to detect, deter and prosecute crimes and protect the national security,” a justice department notice said. The statement went on to say, “The Department of Justice and the FBI take very seriously their strict compliance with the Constitution, all federal laws including the Privacy Act, and their own policies regarding the free exercise of constitutional rights.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is one of many groups that had something to say back. They believe the change is going to make it harder for people to know if the government is storing information on them, and if that information is correct.

ACLU legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani released a statement that said it was very unsettling to know that the FBI is collecting biometric information without the proper privacy protections.

“But, now they want to strip away the basic right of these individuals to find out whether their information has been stored, shared, or contains errors. The FBI should abandon this misguided proposal, and instead focus on providing greater transparency and accountability into current practices,” the statement also read.


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