FBI provides big business realtime data on employees

real-time data on employees

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has introduced a system which gives big business real-time data on its employees, according to a report on TheIntercept.com.

The website says the FBI system will give employers “real-time notifications and updates about their employees’ run-ins with law enforcement”, including arrests at protests and charges that do not end up in convictions.

FBI Director James Comey told the government that the system is designed to help catch those employees who may have no record when they first start their jobs, but subsequently commit acts which bring them to the attention of the agencies – and employers can be notified of this in real-time.

The Intercept says Comey told Congress: “People are clean when they first go in, then they get in trouble five years down the road [and] never tell the daycare about this.”

The new system is called “Rap” – acronym for Record of Arrest and Prosecution – and has been in existence since before 2007.

The new database the FBI is using is called the Next Generation Identification, or NGI, database.

The FBI says NGI “provides the criminal justice community with the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information”.

fbi biometrics ngi

NGI’s capabilities include:

  • Advanced Fingerprint Identification Technology: The FBI introduced this new fingerprint system in 2011, and says this one is 99.6 per cent accurate, compared with the previous system’s 92 per cent accuracy; it also has faster response times and other advanced features.
  • Repository for Individuals of Special Concern: This includes immigration violators, which should please US President Donald Trump, who wants a total crackdown on them. But it also includes convicted sex offenders, and suspected terrorists. The search function is said to have response times of less than 10 seconds.
  • Latent and Palm Prints: Law enforcement these days don’t just fingerprint people who are arrested, they take prints of their whole palms from different angles. This system was introduced officially in 2013, and similar systems are being used in the UK.
  • Rap Back: This is “real-time” notification service which uses the fingerprint and other database information to provide employers and others with up-to-the-second information about someone’s background.
  • Facial Recognition: The FBI says the Interstate Photo System was introduced at the same time as the NGI itself, although it doesn’t specifically say what date each one was formally introduced. The IPS is said to be able to search “millions of criminals’ photos – data the FBI has collected for decades”.
  • Cold Case/Unknown Deceased: Dead people “voting” during the US presidential elections is currently a hot political issue, although this is aimed more at cold case investigation. The FBI says it uses “advanced search algorithms” in conjunction with the biometric data to help solve cases.
  • Iris Pilot: Introduced in September, 2013, this project is continuing to build what the FBI calls “a criminal iris repository”, which is national in scope. It also provides law enforcement procedural methods for asses and develop best practices for iris image capture, iris camera specification requirements, specifications for iris image compression, and a review of new and existing iris image quality metrics.

Biometrics in criminal investigation is of course not limited to fingerprint technology, and hasn’t been for some decades. But this is a whole new level, and looks set to get even more pervasive.

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