Sunlight Foundation: The FBI shouldn’t restrict the public’s right to know about our data

As The Washington Post reported this week, the FBI wants to exempt its growing database of fingerprints and photographs from Privacy Act rules. The Privacy Act of 1974, which was enacted as a way to ensure that federal agencies protected the expanding amount of private information that federal agencies held about the American people from inadvertent exposure, includes provisions that require agencies to tell individuals if their information is in a system and empower citizens to ensure that that information is correct.

The latter two provisions are what the FBI wishes to create an exception for in its Next Generation Identification program, which has more than 100 million fingerprints collected from convicted criminals and suspects and more than 45 million photographs of faces from mug shots, visa applications and hiring processes. Continue…