Once every few months, something new pops in our country’s increasing movement toward a surveillance society. Yesterday CNN reported that the FBI has signed a ten-year, $1 billion contract to create a new database of physical characteristics of people.
“Fingerprints will still be the big player,” Bush, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, told CNN.
But he added, “Whatever the biometric that comes down the road, we need to be able to plug that in and play.”
As I read this article, the question I wanted answered was, “Who will be in this database?” Here’s the answer:
You don’t have to be a criminal or a terrorist to be checked against the database. More than 55 percent of the checks the FBI runs involve criminal background checks for people applying for sensitive jobs in government or jobs working with vulnerable people such as children and the elderly, according to the FBI.
The FBI says it hasn’t been saving the fingerprints for those checks, but that may change. The FBI plans a so-called “rap-back” service in which an employer could ask the FBI to keep the prints for an employee on file and let the employer know if the person ever has a brush with the law.
To lift a phrase from our friends at Amnesty International USA, the America I believe in doesn’t engage in intrusive surveillance of average Americans.
Andy in Harrisburg