For years, authorized entities have collected and submitted civil fingerprints to the FBI for criminal background checks for noncriminal purposes. For various reasons, most of the submitted civil fingerprints were not retained. However, the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system will now retain all civil fingerprints. The retention of all civil fingerprints now provides for the feasibility of the Rap Back Service (RBS).
"Employers enrolled in federal and state Rap Back programs receive ongoing, real-time notifications and updates about their employees' run-ins with law enforcement", according to a report by the The Intercept, by Ava Kofman.
For the RBS, the FBI will retain the prints it collects on behalf of companies so they are able to notify employers about their employee's future encounters with law enforcement.
The Rap Back program is targeted for individuals in "positions of trust", but there is no formal limit on the population of individuals that can be enrolled in the service.
The first step in using the RBS is an initial determination of suitability. Following the initial background check, a subscription to the service may be created. Employers may even purchase a lifetime subscription for $13 per person.
Several organizations have voiced civil liberty concerns, with the FBI retaining this type of data. Jay Stanley, with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said "With the Construction of such a powerful surveillance tool, and all the potential for abuse that it brings, comes the need for checks and balances of commensurate strength. Yet the FBI appears to be moving in exactly the opposite direction, seeking to exempt itself even from the limited privacy protections that so far exist in law."
- PBS Newshour (video): Employers can use FBI database for background checks
- FBI: Next Generation Identification - Rap Back Service
- The Intercept: "The FBI is building a national watchlist that gives companies real-time updates on employees", by Ava Kofman
- ACLU: "FBI Wants to Exempt Biometric Mega-Database from Privacy and Accuracy Rules", by Jay Stanley