Do you believe that the government’s (local, state, federal) collection

Do you believe that the government’s (local, state, federal) collection and storing of fingerprint information causes a conflict with the privacy or civil liberties of American citizens? Why, or why not?


                                                     CLASSMATE’ S POST

I would have to go with it does not violate the privacy or civil liberties of American citizens if they are done so in accordance with the law. The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division has provided state-of-the-art fingerprint identification and criminal history services through its Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) for many years. CJIS is replacing IAFIS fingerprint services and providing new and advanced services for other biometrics with the incremental implementation of the Next Generation Identification (NGI). This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) describes the retention and searching of noncriminal justice (hereinafter “civil”) fingerprints received by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in accordance with federal authority (e.g. federal statute, Presidential Executive Order) or state authority (e.g. state statutes pursuant to Public Law 92-544).  Specifically, this PIA addresses the retention and searching of civil fingerprints submitted by federal agencies, except when expressly precluded by federal law, and the retention and searching of civil fingerprints submitted by state, local, and tribal agencies, when retention is legally permissible and selected by that agency.

For many decades, federal and state agencies and other authorized entities have collected and submitted civil fingerprints to the FBI for criminal background checks for noncriminal justice purposes, such as employment and licensing purposes. Due to technological capacity limitations, IAFIS did not retain most of the civil fingerprints submitted; once processed, the fingerprints were destroyed. IAFIS did retain certain civil fingerprints, such as those associated with military service or immigration benefits, but did not retain the fingerprints of those applying for licensing or employment as permitted under Public Law 92-544. Moreover, the civil fingerprints that were retained in IAFIS were not readily accessible or searchable. The civil fingerprints that were retained in IAFIS have been transferred to NGI, since IAFIS no longer exists. 

The replacement of IAFIS by NGI was designed to provide technological advancements to better promote the FBI’s overall mission of reducing terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information sharing services. Importantly, NGI’s mission includes ensuring that persons applying for positions of public trust meet the requirements to be chosen for, and to remain in, those positions of trust. In addition, mandates for the FBI to retain civil fingerprints have become broader in recent years under several statutes, such as the USA Patriot Act, the Security Clearance Act, and the National Child Protection Act (more specifically described below under Section 3.2). Accordingly, the FBI developed NGI to retain civil fingerprints when authorized by the submitting agency, and to consolidate those civil fingerprint submissions, along with accompanying biographic data into a single identity record.

It is important to note that this retention and searching of civil fingerprints is authorized only for those individuals whose employment, license, or other benefit requires that the individual not commit a prohibited criminal action. Moreover, these individuals are provided with a Privacy Act statement and other actual notices regarding the retention and searching of their fingerprints.

In conclusion it is my opinion that the collection of fingerprinting and storing of them is not a violation of privacy and/or civil liberties as an American citizen. In todays age depending on the job field you are in whether it is law enforcement, military, EMS, banking, and etc. you will have to have your fingerprints taken and put on file. 

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