Wednesday, April 25, 2007

National criminal background checks

An article written byJackie Walters, Technical Services Librarian at Wiley Rein LLP for the Spring 2007 newsletter, Law Library Lights says that there are 7 facts that contradict the myth that a national criminal background check is even possible:
1. No central repository exists for federal, sate, and local criminal records.
2. Only 25 states - of the 49 states D.C. & Puerto Rico that have automated records - are fully automated.
3. There are no standards for collecting records.
4. Conducting on-site, county level searches where an individual has lived could be cost-prohibitive.
5. States are increasingly restricting personally identifying data, such as birth dates and SS #s and without this data you cannot link information across record types, and how do you know you even have the "right" John Doe?
6. Permissible use of these records are limited and sometimes restricted by federal and state privacy statutes.
7. So-called "national" databases are restricted to government users - law-enforcement agencies or agencies authorized by the FBI.

But don't let that stop you from requesting a search for your story. We'll do our best.

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