Washington, DC (Sputnik) – After having spent eight years collecting sensitive biometric data on over 100 million Americans and assembling a huge database to contain it, the FBI has now announced that, in just 21 days, they will exempt this enormous bulk of information from the privacy protections guaranteed by US law.
A coalition of activists and privacy groups have submitted a joint letter to the agency seeking additional time to respond, requesting another month for public debate to decide if the Next Generation Identification (NGI) database is actually “designed to protect.”The NGI contains biometric data, including fingerprints, face profiles, iris scans, palm prints and biographical information. Contrary to the common belief that the information is solely related to arrest records, roughly half of the database is from ordinary citizens, official documents reveal.
For instance, to get a job with the federal government, a prospective employee must provide fingerprints. But some states require the same kind of background checks for those who seek to become dentists, accountants, or teachers. The fingerprints of representatives from many different careers then end up in the NGI system.
Last year, the FBI announced that it would combine into one system the records of convicted criminals alongside those of regular citizens who undergo simple background checks. Many raised questions regarding the possibility of crosstalk and error in such an enormous database.
The NGI’s face recognition system fails in 15 percent of cases, the FBI revealed, making the possibility of an innocent person being accused of a crime he didn’t commit all the more plausible.
This report prepared by Sputnik.