National Fingerprint File Benefits

Benefits to Vulnerable Populations 

The National Fingerprint File (NFF) state’s more complete and accurate criminal history record provided for background checks on employees and volunteers caring for our children, our elderly, and our disabled family members.

During the background check today, when an identification is made on a non-NFF state record, or the state does not support the purpose associated with the fingerprint submission, the FBI provides a copy of the state’s record kept on file in the Interstate Identification Index (III). This record copy may not contain all the criminal history record information (CHRI) as the record residing at the state repository.

When this record check and adjudication is being done on individuals providing care for the elderly, children, or disabled, their safety may be compromised. On the contrary, when an identification is made on an NFF state record during the national fingerprint- based background check, the FBI reaches out directly to the NFF state repository for the record thus providing the most complete and comprehensive CHRI available. Participation in the NFF Program ensures a higher level of security benefitting our most vulnerable populations.

Benefits to Individual Privacy 

The NFF Program’s decentralization enhances the protection of Personally Identifiable Information.

An NFF state provides its records for all purposes; thus, any request for an NFF state’s maintained record (when a national fingerprint-based check is conducted), results in the NFF state’s repository being queried directly for its CHRI. Increasing efficiency and accuracy through the decentralized NFF Program enhances the protection of individual’s privacy in the national background check process.

Benefits of Record Control 

NFF states control record usage.

An NFF participating state is queried directly for its record via III. The III record request identifies the purpose for the request, providing the NFF state the benefit of always knowing when its records are being used and for what purpose.

Benefits to State Resources 

NFF participation eliminates duplicate record maintenance.

One of the biggest advantages of becoming an NFF state is the reduction of duplicative record maintenance. Once this decentralization occurs and the NFF states fully maintain their criminal history records, there is no need to duplicate records at the Federal level. The state does not have to forward expungement notices and disposition information to the FBI. Once a record is initially indexed at the FBI, subsequent arrest submissions are not required. Reduction of these duplicative processes can effectively secure additional operational resources thus benefitting the state repository.

Benefits of Record Accuracy 

Single source record maintenance enhances record completeness and accuracy.

Prior to participating in the NFF Program, as fingerprint-based arrest records are added to its state repository, a copy of the fingerprint images and arrest record is forwarded to the FBI. Maintaining duplicate records is necessary due to dual dissemination responsibilities at the state and national levels. To keep the duplicate records synchronized, states must forward record modification, expungement notifications, and new disposition information to the FBI when records are updated at the state repository. Any time lapse between additional data being added at the state and federal levels results in discrepancies in the records. When a state participates in the NFF program, the state is the sole disseminator of its CHRI and it is no longer necessary for the state to submit duplicate arrest records or expungement/disposition information to the FBI. Eliminating the processing of duplicative data through participation in the NFF Program provides benefit through the consistent release of accurate and up-to-date criminal history records.

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