Biometric data is a term we need to get used to. Whether we like it or not, the future of technology is being built around biometric data and the battle for that data is in its infancy. There are a few entities who collect biometric data such as Apple, Google, Huwaei, Motorola, Lenovo, and the FBI. The FBI has a large database of biometric data at its disposal named NGI (Next Generation Identification) and they want to make sure you don’t know if you’re part of that database or not.
The Justice Department plans on submitting a proposal to exempt NGI from the Federal Privacy Act citing national security of course. The FBI NGI database collects a multitude of biometric data including iris scans, facial scans, palm prints, tattoo photographs and of course fingerprints. But don’t think that just because you’ve never committed a crime you’re not part of this database.
Aside from criminals, suspects and detainees, the system includes data from people fingerprinted for jobs, licenses, military or volunteer service, background checks, security clearances, and naturalization, among other government processes.
Letting individuals view their own records, or even the accounting of those records, could compromise criminal investigations or “national security efforts,” potentially revealing a “sensitive investigative technique” or information that could help a subject “avoid detection or apprehension,” the draft posting said.
This is going to be an interesting discussion once the idea of biometric data privacy becomes more mainstream which is probably why the FBI is seeking to get this proposal in now. Privacy is a huge concern among many Americans but so is national security. Weighing the two against each other is becoming increasingly difficult and the conversations we as a country are going to have will be just as difficult. In the meantime, the FBI will push forward with this proposal in hopes to keep anyone from knowing if they are a part of their archives.
What do you think of the FBI’s NGI database and proposal to exempt it from the Privacy Act? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.