Civil rights and privacy groups are alarmed by a plan by the Justice Department to exempt from the Privacy Act the FBI’s Next Generation Identification Database, a collection of biometric data that already includes tens of millions of Americans.
The Rutherford Institute said the exemption from the Privacy Act of 1974– which grants citizens access to personal information the government is holding – sets the stage for “near-limitless power and control that would be granted the DOJ over information collected on law-abiding individuals.”
And the Electronic Privacy Information Center warned that under the announced plan, the FBI even could create “databases about the political activities of … citizens.”
At issue is the NGID system, which Rutherford described as “a massive biometric database that contains more than 100 million fingerprints and 45 million facial photos gathered from a variety of sources ranging from criminal suspects and convicts to daycare workers and visa applicants.”
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It would include millions “who have never committed or even been accused of a crime.”
The system, in addition to fingerprints and mug shots, also includes iris scans, DNA profiles, voice identification profiles and palm prints.
Read More: FBI wants biometric database kept secret