RealNews

Justice Department lifts limits on FBI database

The Justice Department lifted a requirement Monday that the FBI ensure the accuracy and timeliness of information about criminals and crime victims before adding it to the country’s most comprehensive law enforcement database. The system, run by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, includes data about terrorists, fugitives, warrants, people missing, gang members and stolen vehicles, guns or boats. Records are queried increasingly by the nation’s law enforcement agencies to help decide whether to monitor, detain or arrest someone. The records are inaccessible to the public, and police have been prosecuted in U.S. courts for misusing the system to find, for example, personal information about girlfriends or former spouses. Officials said the change, which immediately drew criticism from civil-liberties advocates, is necessary to ensure investigators have access to information that can’t be confirmed but could take on new significance later, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said. The change to the 1974 U.S. Privacy Act was disclosed with an announcement published in the Federal Register. The Privacy Act previously required the FBI to ensure information was “accurate, relevant, timely and complete” before it could be added to the system. Full Story

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