What’s Happening with your Identity?

Local, Special Interest

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Robb Arthur
Global Investigations & Security


Most of us have read recent articles about the vast amount of personal information being gathered by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and other spy agencies without our consent or knowledge. However, few people realize the extent of the information compiled with our consent.

Recently, many questions have arisen regarding the government system that stores identification and biometric data, such as fingerprints and photographs – specifically from people who routinely apply for various licenses and/or have jobs that require a background check. In the past, if someone was fingerprinted for a job or professional license, their information was simply run via computer through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) national criminal database. The employer or licensing agency would be notified of the results and the information would not be stored for any other purpose; this process has recently changed. The information gathered from licensing and background checks will now be stored indefinitely with the FBI’s new NGI (Next Generation Identification) computer system along with records of known criminals, terrorists, etc.

Face recognition software is also the latest information gathering technology integrated into the new NGI system. This technology is used to identify and screen individuals based on their facial features. Although the technology is at its early stages, eventually a photograph will act as a searchable identifier, similar to a fingerprint. A photo taken from a variety of sources including social networks, Closed-Circuit television (CCTV) recordings, documents, cell phones and other media can be processed through the NGI database, similar to the way fingerprints. It is worth pointing out that the private company; MorphoTrust USA, who has developed this software for the FBI is also the company contracted to process driver’s licenses and license photos for almost every state in the U.S., including Arizona. This same company entered into an agreement with INTERPOL. The agreement includes automated biometric identification systems and state-of-the art security solutions for the “future INTERPOL Global Complex.”

Although it is routine to consent to fingerprints and/or photos for a particular license, what is happening to the information has changed. Attempts to minimize data collection have been made at the state level. In 2014, in Arizona, there was a Bill in the Senate (SB 1156) that would have prohibited all state employees and employees of political subdivisions of Arizona from providing any support or assistance to any Federal Agency that is collecting data on any person without a warrant or any corporation that provides services to the Federal Government in the collection of any data on any person without a warrant. The Bill was supported by fifteen legislators, but did not pass into law.

Sources I suggest you read:

Have an opinion about this? I’d like to hear it. Please give us a call. Global Investigations & Security, LLC (480) 443-0828.