For years the FBI maintained it had no interest in scanning fingerprints collected by employers — teachers, lawyers, state and federal workers, even bike messengers now routinely submit fingerprints for employment — but that has now changed.
“For the first time, fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a background check will be stored and searched right along with fingerprints taken for criminal purposes,” reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting rights online.
The change, which the FBI revealed quietly in a February 2015 Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), means that if you ever have your fingerprints taken for licensing or for a background check, they will most likely end up living indefinitely in the FBI’s NGI database. They’ll be searched thousands of times a day by law enforcement agencies across the country—even if your prints didn’t match any criminal records when they were first submitted to the system.
The EFF believes the change is “part of an ever-growing movement toward cataloguing information on everyone in America—and a movement that won’t end with fingerprints.”
Now that the FBI has added a face recognition component to its database, employers and state and local governments will be urged to submit photographs along with fingerprints.
A database of photos will make it easier for the agency and the government to track people as they move about, the EFF explains.
“This violates our democratic ideals and our societal belief that we should not treat people as criminals until they are proven guilty,” the digital rights organization argues.
The government’s expanding biometric database — coupled with the NSA’s effort to surveil all personal communication — will further enable the technocratic police state now going into place.
The government is less interested in catching criminals than it is in controlling the populace, especially a politically active populace that may threaten its monopoly of power.