It wasn’t all that long ago that the public was made aware of the huge privacy concerns with sharing your DNA with consumer genetic testing companies to find out your origins. One such concern was the ability of the federal government and law enforcement agencies to gain access to your DNA. As the public has become more aware of such privacy concerns, it seems strange that on Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced a new partnership with the United States Postal Service where customers like you can voluntarily provide them with their fingerprints while you’re at the post office.
Through a partnership between the #FBI and the @USPS, you can now submit your fingerprints electronically for an identity history summary check (IdHSC) while you buy stamps or mail packages. Learn more about IdHSC and find participating post offices at https://t.co/RUHjT1ZG31. pic.twitter.com/4aGwXAnO4d
— FBI (@FBI) December 6, 2019
Isn’t that nice and convenient? The government is making it that much easier for you to give them your fingerprints! Gotta buy some stamps or mail a package, why not help the government build up a national database of fingerprints. That sounds great for your privacy.
The program is explained more on their website.
For a fee, the FBI can provide individuals with an Identity History Summary—often referred to as a criminal history record or a “rap sheet”—listing certain information taken from fingerprint submissions kept by the FBI and related to arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service.
If the fingerprint submissions are related to an arrest, the Identity History Summary includes the name of the agency that submitted the fingerprints to the FBI, the date of the arrest, the arrest charge, and the disposition of the arrest, if known. All arrest information included in an Identity History Summary is obtained from fingerprint submissions, disposition reports, and other information submitted by authorized criminal justice agencies.
The U.S. Department of Justice Order 556-73, also known as Departmental Order, establishes rules and regulations for you to obtain a copy of your Identity History Summary for review or proof that one does not exist.
USDOJ Order 556-73 was first published in the Federal Register in 1973.
According to the FBI website, “Only you may request a copy of your own Identity History Summary (or proof that one does not exist). You would typically make this request for personal review, to challenge information on record, to meet a requirement for adopting a child, or to meet a requirement to live, work, or travel in a foreign country.”
Of course, there are plenty of ways to obtain a criminal background check without providing the federal government your fingerprint. Most of the information is a part of the public record. If you’ve forgotten that you’ve been arrested in the past and want to check, you can start with local records before you give Big Brother your fingerprints. There are also some websites that can pull up records for a fee as well, without giving up your fingerprints.
In response to this new partnership that makes the Post Office a partner in the FBI’s quest to build their national database of fingerprints, Senator Rand Paul made this epic tweet:
🤨 Get a Warrant. https://t.co/rukpnDB3hu
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 7, 2019
I couldn’t agree more.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis