The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received permission from the Justice Department exempting the agency from having to disclose the biometric information it stores.
The ruling was posted in the Federal Register where it was stated the biometric data base, called the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System, is exempt from being accessed using the Privacy Act of 1974. A decision that angered many privacy groups.
“The listed exemptions are necessary to avoid interference with the Department's law enforcement and national security functions and responsibilities of the FBI,” the Federal Register stated.
The exemption was granted despite input from non-government, public interest, civil liberties, non-profit, and academic organizations which expressed concern over the extent of the information included in the exemption.
The ACLU reported in May 2016 that the NGI System can hold information such as “tattoos and such things as voice and gait recognition data. And it collects information not just on those convicted of a crime, but also on many people who are just applying for a job, volunteer position, naturalization, or military commission, and others who need to undergo a fingerprint or photo background check.”