Category Archives: FOIA (NGI)

Next Generation Identification (NGI) Documents

Next Generation Identification (NGI) and Secure Communities: Key Documents

Next Generation Identification Fact Sheet (PDF)

NGI and S-Comm: Key Documents

NGI and S-Comm: Guide to Key Documents

  • The FBI sees S-Comm as “only the first of a number of biometric interoperability systems being brought online by the FBI ‘Next Generation Identification’ (NGI) project.” [See FBI-SC 2256]
  • The FBI Advisory Policy Board, which oversees the FBI’s criminal databases, passed a motion in June 2009 to recommend that the FBI convert S-Comm from a voluntary to a mandatory program at the local level.  [See FBI-SC-1312-1313; FBI-SC-1336].  At that time – and as much as one year later – ICE was still representing S-Comm as voluntary to state and local officials.
  • The FBI’s decision to support mandatory imposition of S-Comm was not driven by any legal mandate.  In fact, the FBI considered making S-Comm voluntary, showing that it viewed opting out as both a technological possibility and a lawful option.  The FBI chose the mandatory route not because of a statutory requirement, but for “record linking/maintenance purposes.” [See FBI SC-1313].  In focusing on mundane record-keeping issues, the agency failed to weigh any of the considerations that have driven states and localities across the country to withdraw from S-Comm, including the program’s impact on community policing, its association with an increased risk of racial profiling, and its failure to comply with its announced purpose of targeting dangerous criminals.
  • Both FBI and immigration officials have raised concerns internally that aspects of S-Comm may interfere with privacy and invade civil liberties.  Notes from one meeting, for example, state that S-Comm “goes against privacy and civil liberties.” [See FBI-SC-1886].  In another series of emails, FBI officials raised concerns that state and local users of the FBI databases would be surprised to learn that the FBI was using their data to perform searches that the users had neither requested nor authorized. [See FBI-SC-1312].
  • DHS may be using S-Comm to gather and store data about U.S. citizens, too.  One of the newly obtained documents indicates that US-VISIT, a component of DHS may have considered storing certain information about individuals in violation of their own internal requirements and privacy laws. [See FBI-SC 1887].  This may include the retention of data about the lawful activities of even natural-born U.S. citizens.

Additional Documents