42 U.S. Code § 14616 - National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact
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The Contracting Parties agree to the following:Overview
(a) In general
This Compact organizes an electronic information sharing system among the Federal Government and the States to exchange criminal history records for noncriminal justice purposes authorized by Federal or State law, such as background checks for governmental licensing and employment.
(b) Obligations of parties
Under this Compact, the FBI and the Party States agree to maintain detailed databases of their respective criminal history records, including arrests and dispositions, and to make them available to the Federal Government and to Party States for authorized purposes. The FBI shall also manage the Federal data facilities that provide a significant part of the infrastructure for the system.ARTICLE I—DEFINITIONS
In this Compact:
(2) Compact officer
The term “Compact officer” means—
(A) with respect to the Federal Government, an official so designated by the Director of the FBI; and
(4) Criminal history records
The term “criminal history records”—
(A) means information collected by criminal justice agencies on individuals consisting of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, or other formal criminal charges, and any disposition arising therefrom, including acquittal, sentencing, correctional supervision, or release; and
(5) Criminal history record repository
The term “criminal history record repository” means the State agency designated by the Governor or other appropriate executive official or the legislature of a State to perform centralized recordkeeping functions for criminal history records and services in the State.
(6) Criminal justice
The term “criminal justice” includes activities relating to the detection, apprehension, detention, pretrial release, post-trial release, prosecution, adjudication, correctional supervision, or rehabilitation of accused persons or criminal offenders. The administration of criminal justice includes criminal identification activities and the collection, storage, and dissemination of criminal history records.
(7) Criminal justice agency
The term “criminal justice agency”—
(8) Criminal justice services
The term “criminal justice services” means services provided by the FBI to criminal justice agencies in response to a request for information about a particular individual or as an update to information previously provided for criminal justice purposes.
(9) Criterion offense
The term “criterion offense” means any felony or misdemeanor offense not included on the list of nonserious offenses published periodically by the FBI.
(10) Direct access
The term “direct access” means access to the National Identification Index by computer terminal or other automated means not requiring the assistance of or intervention by any other party or agency.
(11) Executive order
The term “Executive order” means an order of the President of the United States or the chief executive officer of a State that has the force of law and that is promulgated in accordance with applicable law.
(13) Interstate Identification System
The term “Interstate Identification Index System” or “III System”—
(14) National Fingerprint File
The term “National Fingerprint File” means a database of fingerprints, or other uniquely personal identifying information, relating to an arrested or charged individual maintained by the FBI to provide positive identification of record subjects indexed in the III System.
(15) National Identification Index
The term “National Identification Index” means an index maintained by the FBI consisting of names, identifying numbers, and other descriptive information relating to record subjects about whom there are criminal history records in the III System.
(16) National indices
The term “National indices” means the National Identification Index and the National Fingerprint File.
(18) Noncriminal justice purposes
The term “noncriminal justice purposes” means uses of criminal history records for purposes authorized by Federal or State law other than purposes relating to criminal justice activities, including employment suitability, licensing determinations, immigration and naturalization matters, and national security clearances.
(20) Positive identification
The term “positive identification” means a determination, based upon a comparison of fingerprints or other equally reliable biometric identification techniques, that the subject of a record search is the same person as the subject of a criminal history record or records indexed in the III System. Identifications based solely upon a comparison of subjects’ names or other nonunique identification characteristics or numbers, or combinations thereof, shall not constitute positive identification.
(21) Sealed record information
The term “sealed record information” means—
(A) with respect to adults, that portion of a record that is—
The term “State” means any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.ARTICLE II—PURPOSES
The purposes of this Compact are to—
(1) provide a legal framework for the establishment of a cooperative Federal-State system for the interstate and Federal-State exchange of criminal history records for noncriminal justice uses;
(2) require the FBI to permit use of the National Identification Index and the National Fingerprint File by each Party State, and to provide, in a timely fashion, Federal and State criminal history records to requesting States, in accordance with the terms of this Compact and with rules, procedures, and standards established by the Council under Article VI;
(3) require Party States to provide information and records for the National Identification Index and the National Fingerprint File and to provide criminal history records, in a timely fashion, to criminal history record repositories of other States and the Federal Government for noncriminal justice purposes, in accordance with the terms of this Compact and with rules, procedures, and standards established by the Council under Article VI;
(4) provide for the establishment of a Council to monitor III System operations and to prescribe system rules and procedures for the effective and proper operation of the III System for noncriminal justice purposes; and
(5) require the FBI and each Party State to adhere to III System standards concerning record dissemination and use, response times, system security, data quality, and other duly established standards, including those that enhance the accuracy and privacy of such records. ARTICLE III—RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMPACT PARTIES
(a) FBI responsibilities
The Director of the FBI shall—
(1) appoint an FBI Compact officer who shall—
(A) administer this Compact within the Department of Justice and among Federal agencies and other agencies and organizations that submit search requests to the FBI pursuant to Article V(c);
(B) ensure that Compact provisions and rules, procedures, and standards prescribed by the Council under Article VI are complied with by the Department of Justice and the Federal agencies and other agencies and organizations referred to in Article III(1)(A); and
(2) provide to Federal agencies and to State criminal history record repositories, criminal history records maintained in its database for the noncriminal justice purposes described in Article IV, including—
(3) provide a telecommunications network and maintain centralized facilities for the exchange of criminal history records for both criminal justice purposes and the noncriminal justice purposes described in Article IV, and ensure that the exchange of such records for criminal justice purposes has priority over exchange for noncriminal justice purposes; and
(b) State responsibilities
Each Party State shall—
(1) appoint a Compact officer who shall—
(B) ensure that Compact provisions and rules, procedures, and standards established by the Council under Article VI are complied with in the State; and
(2) establish and maintain a criminal history record repository, which shall provide—
(A) information and records for the National Identification Index and the National Fingerprint File; and
(c) Compliance with III System standards
In carrying out their responsibilities under this Compact, the FBI and each Party State shall comply with III System rules, procedures, and standards duly established by the Council concerning record dissemination and use, response times, data quality, system security, accuracy, privacy protection, and other aspects of III System operation.
(d) Maintenance of record services
(1) Use of the III System for noncriminal justice purposes authorized in this Compact shall be managed so as not to diminish the level of services provided in support of criminal justice purposes.
(a) State criminal history record repositories
To the extent authorized by section 552a of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the “Privacy Act of 1974”), the FBI shall provide on request criminal history records (excluding sealed records) to State criminal history record repositories for noncriminal justice purposes allowed by Federal statute, Federal Executive order, or a State statute that has been approved by the Attorney General and that authorizes national indices checks.
(b) Criminal justice agencies and other governmental or nongovernmental agencies
The FBI, to the extent authorized by section 552a of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the “Privacy Act of 1974”), and State criminal history record repositories shall provide criminal history records (excluding sealed records) to criminal justice agencies and other governmental or nongovernmental agencies for noncriminal justice purposes allowed by Federal statute, Federal Executive order, or a State statute that has been approved by the Attorney General, that authorizes national indices checks.
Any record obtained under this Compact may be used only for the official purposes for which the record was requested. Each Compact officer shall establish procedures, consistent with this Compact, and with rules, procedures, and standards established by the Council under Article VI, which procedures shall protect the accuracy and privacy of the records, and shall—
(1) ensure that records obtained under this Compact are used only by authorized officials for authorized purposes;
(2) require that subsequent record checks are requested to obtain current information whenever a new need arises; and
(3) ensure that record entries that may not legally be used for a particular noncriminal justice purpose are deleted from the response and, if no information authorized for release remains, an appropriate “no record” response is communicated to the requesting official. ARTICLE V—RECORD REQUEST PROCEDURES
(a) Positive identification
Subject fingerprints or other approved forms of positive identification shall be submitted with all requests for criminal history record checks for noncriminal justice purposes.
(b) Submission of State requests
Each request for a criminal history record check utilizing the national indices made under any approved State statute shall be submitted through that State’s criminal history record repository. A State criminal history record repository shall process an interstate request for noncriminal justice purposes through the national indices only if such request is transmitted through another State criminal history record repository or the FBI.
(c) Submission of Federal requests
Each request for criminal history record checks utilizing the national indices made under Federal authority shall be submitted through the FBI or, if the State criminal history record repository consents to process fingerprint submissions, through the criminal history record repository in the State in which such request originated. Direct access to the National Identification Index by entities other than the FBI and State criminal history records repositories shall not be permitted for noncriminal justice purposes.
A State criminal history record repository or the FBI—
(1) may charge a fee, in accordance with applicable law, for handling a request involving fingerprint processing for noncriminal justice purposes; and
(e) Additional search
(1) If a State criminal history record repository cannot positively identify the subject of a record request made for noncriminal justice purposes, the request, together with fingerprints or other approved identifying information, shall be forwarded to the FBI for a search of the national indices.
(2) If, with respect to a request forwarded by a State criminal history record repository under paragraph (1), the FBI positively identifies the subject as having a III System-indexed record or records—
(1) In general
There is established a council to be known as the “Compact Council”, which shall have the authority to promulgate rules and procedures governing the use of the III System for noncriminal justice purposes, not to conflict with FBI administration of the III System for criminal justice purposes.
The Council shall be composed of 15 members, each of whom shall be appointed by the Attorney General, as follows:
(1) Nine members, each of whom shall serve a 2-year term, who shall be selected from among the Compact officers of Party States based on the recommendation of the Compact officers of all Party States, except that, in the absence of the requisite number of Compact officers available to serve, the chief administrators of the criminal history record repositories of Nonparty States shall be eligible to serve on an interim basis.
(2) Two at-large members, nominated by the Director of the FBI, each of whom shall serve a 3-year term, of whom—
(A) 1 shall be a representative of the criminal justice agencies of the Federal Government and may not be an employee of the FBI; and
(3) Two at-large members, nominated by the Chairman of the Council, once the Chairman is elected pursuant to Article VI(c), each of whom shall serve a 3-year term, of whom—
(4) One member, who shall serve a 3-year term, and who shall simultaneously be a member of the FBI’s advisory policy board on criminal justice information services, nominated by the membership of that policy board.
(c) Chairman and Vice Chairman
(1) In general
From its membership, the Council shall elect a Chairman and a Vice Chairman of the Council, respectively. Both the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council—
(A) shall be a Compact officer, unless there is no Compact officer on the Council who is willing to serve, in which case the Chairman may be an at-large member; and
(1) In general
The Council shall meet at least once each year at the call of the Chairman. Each meeting of the Council shall be open to the public. The Council shall provide prior public notice in the Federal Register of each meeting of the Council, including the matters to be addressed at such meeting.
(e) Rules, procedures, and standards
The Council shall make available for public inspection and copying at the Council office within the FBI, and shall publish in the Federal Register, any rules, procedures, or standards established by the Council.
(f) Assistance from FBI
The Council may request from the FBI such reports, studies, statistics, or other information or materials as the Council determines to be necessary to enable the Council to perform its duties under this Compact. The FBI, to the extent authorized by law, may provide such assistance or information upon such a request.
The Chairman may establish committees as necessary to carry out this Compact and may prescribe their membership, responsibilities, and duration.ARTICLE VII—RATIFICATION OF COMPACT
This Compact shall take effect upon being entered into by 2 or more States as between those States and the Federal Government. Upon subsequent entering into this Compact by additional States, it shall become effective among those States and the Federal Government and each Party State that has previously ratified it. When ratified, this Compact shall have the full force and effect of law within the ratifying jurisdictions. The form of ratification shall be in accordance with the laws of the executing State.ARTICLE VIII—MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
(a) Relation of Compact to certain FBI activities
Administration of this Compact shall not interfere with the management and control of the Director of the FBI over the FBI’s collection and dissemination of criminal history records and the advisory function of the FBI’s advisory policy board chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) for all purposes other than noncriminal justice.
(b) No authority for nonappropriated expenditures
Nothing in this Compact shall require the FBI to obligate or expend funds beyond those appropriated to the FBI.
(c) Relating to Public Law 92–544
Nothing in this Compact shall diminish or lessen the obligations, responsibilities, and authorities of any State, whether a Party State or a Nonparty State, or of any criminal history record repository or other subdivision or component thereof, under the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1973 (Public Law 92–544), or regulations and guidelines promulgated thereunder, including the rules and procedures promulgated by the Council under Article VI(a), regarding the use and dissemination of criminal history records and information.ARTICLE IX—RENUNCIATION
Any renunciation of this Compact by a Party State shall—
(2) become effective 180 days after written notice of renunciation is provided by the Party State to each other Party State and to the Federal Government. ARTICLE X—SEVERABILITY
The provisions of this Compact shall be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this Compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of any participating State, or to the Constitution of the United States, or the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this Compact and the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance shall not be affected thereby. If a portion of this Compact is held contrary to the constitution of any Party State, all other portions of this Compact shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining Party States and in full force and effect as to the Party State affected, as to all other provisions.ARTICLE XI—ADJUDICATION OF DISPUTES
(a) In general
The Council shall—
(1) have initial authority to make determinations with respect to any dispute regarding—
(b) Duties of FBI
The FBI shall exercise immediate and necessary action to preserve the integrity of the III System, maintain system policy and standards, protect the accuracy and privacy of records, and to prevent abuses, until the Council holds a hearing on such matters.
(c) Right of appeal
The FBI or a Party State may appeal any decision of the Council to the Attorney General, and thereafter may file suit in the appropriate district court of the United States, which shall have original jurisdiction of all cases or controversies arising under this Compact. Any suit arising under this Compact and initiated in a State court shall be removed to the appropriate district court of the United States in the manner provided by section 1446 of title 28, United States Code, or other statutory authority.
Source(Pub. L. 105–251, title II, § 217,Oct. 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 1876.)
References in Text
The Privacy Act of 1974, referred to in Article IV(a), (b), is Pub. L. 93–579, Dec. 31, 1974, 88 Stat. 1896, as amended, which enacted section 552a of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees, and provisions set out as notes under section 552a of Title 5. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 552a of Title 5 and Tables.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in Article VIII(a), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.