EFF And 31 Other Organizations Call For Privacy Assessment Of FBI’s Biometric Database


The FBI plans to roll out the face recognition component of its massive Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometrics database this summer – but the Bureau has six years of catching up to do in explaining to Americans exactly how it plans to collect, use, and protect this data.

Today we called on Attorney General Eric Holder to do just that. As we explained in the letter: The capacity of the FBI to collect and retain information, even on innocent Americans, has grown exponentially.

It is essential for the American public to have a complete picture of all the programs and authorities the FBI uses to track our daily lives and an understanding of how those programs affect our civil rights and civil liberties.

For this reason, it’s imperative that the FBI conduct and publish a current privacy impact assessment (PIA) for NGI.

The Privacy Act of 1974 requires all federal agencies that maintain records on Americans to explain how they collect, store, and use that information.

As part of that process, agencies are required to perform a PIA and make that assessment available to the public.

According to the DOJ’s own guidelines, this is not optional.

Despite this, DOJ has not updated its PIA for the face recognition component of NGI since 2008.

As we said in the letter (and have said before): The facial recognition component of NGI poses real threats to privacy for all Americans.

Source: eff.org