The FBI’s Rap Back program has gone live in Utah. Enabled via NEC technology, the system is designed to use fingerprint biometrics to provide immediate notifications about developments in individuals’ background checks.
Rap Back is part of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system, a comprehensive biometric database and identification system that became fully operational last September and has proceeded to help solve criminal investigations. Rap Back is a new tool in the NGI arsenal, with FBI having only recently announced a pilot project to trail the system at two major airports. Now, the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification has implemented the system via the Western Identification Network (WIN) multi-modal biometric system, allowing both the FBI and Utah authorities to receive ongoing notifications of new developments in the criminal records of individuals holding positions of public trust, such as pilots, teachers, and the like.
In a statement, a Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification representative asserted that “WIN, NEC, and Utah take great pride in adopting this new program to enhance public safety,” calling the implementation of the technology a “groundbreaking opportunity”. While Rap Back will undoubtedly yield benefits, its launch comes at a time when the public deployment of biometric identification technology is coming under increasing scrutiny. Still, given the obvious utility of Rap Back in ensuring public safety and the transparency with which authorities are implementing it, the program seems likely to avoid any controversy as makes its debut.
August 20, 2015 – by Alex Perala