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FBI Issues Final Rule on Biometric Database, Exempts Itself From Privacy Act Protections

August 8, 2017

The FBI has released a final rule claiming several Privacy Act Exemptions for the Next Generation Identification System, a database that contains the biometric data of millions of Americans, much of which is unrelated to law enforcement.

EPIC had criticized the FBI's proposal to remove Privacy Act safeguards and urged the FBI to limit the scope of data collection and reduce the retention of data. However, in issuing the final rule the FBI repeatedly stated that exemptions would be used responsibly and in accordance with FBI policies and procedures.

Through a FOIA lawsuit, EPIC obtained documents that revealed the NGI database contained an error rate of up to 20% on facial recognition searches. EPIC has identified several problems with the NGI database in statements to Congress oversight Committees, which have indicated strong concern about the FBI's facial recognition program.

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