UNITED STATES CODE ANNOTATED
TITLE 42. THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
CHAPTER 140--CRIMINAL JUSTICE IDENTIFICATION, INFORMATION, AND
SUBCHAPTER II--EXCHANGE OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS FOR
§ 14611. Findings
Congress finds that--
- both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and State criminal history record repositories maintain
fingerprint-based criminal history records;
- these criminal history records are shared and exchanged for criminal justice purposes through
a Federal-State program known as the Interstate Identification Index System;
- although these records are also exchanged for legally authorized, noncriminal justice uses, such
as governmental licensing and employment background checks, the purposes for and procedures
by which they are exchanged vary widely from State to State;
- an interstate and Federal-State compact is necessary to facilitate authorized interstate criminal
history record exchanges for noncriminal justice purposes on a uniform basis, while permitting each
State to effectuate its own dissemination policy within its own borders; and
- such a compact will allow Federal and State records to be provided expeditiously to
governmental and nongovernmental agencies that use such records in accordance with pertinent
Federal and State law, while simultaneously enhancing the accuracy of the records and safeguarding
the information contained therein from unauthorized disclosure or use.
§ 14612. Definitions.
In this subchapter:
- Attorney general
The term "Attorney General" means the Attorney General of the United States.
The term "Compact" means the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact set forth in section 14616 of this title.
The term "Council" means the Compact Council established under Article VI of the Compact.
The term "FBI" means the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Party State
The term "Party State" means a State that has ratified the Compact.
The term "State" means any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
§ 14613. Enactment and consent of the United States.
The National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact, as set forth in section 14616 of this title, is
enacted into law and entered into by the Federal Government. The consent of Congress is given to
States to enter into the Compact.
§ 14614. Effect on other laws
(a) Privacy Act of 1974
Nothing in the Compact shall affect the obligations and responsibilities of the FBI under section
552a of Title 5 (commonly known as the "Privacy Act of 1974").
(b) Access to certain records not affected
Nothing in the Compact shall interfere in any manner with--
(1) access, direct or otherwise, to records pursuant to--
(A) section 9101 of title 5, United States Code;
(B) the National Child Protection Act [42 U.S.C.A. ' 5119 et seq.];
(C) the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Public Law 103-159; 107 Stat. 1536);
(D) the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-322; 108 Stat.
2074) or any amendment made by that Act;
(E) the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.); or
(F) the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4101
et seq.); or
(2) any direct access to Federal criminal history records authorized by law.
(c) Authority of FBI under Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related
Agencies Appropriation Act, 1973
Nothing in the Compact shall be construed to affect the authority of the FBI under the Departments
of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1973
(Public Law 92-544 (86 Stat. 1115)).
(d) Federal Advisory Committee Act
The Council shall not be considered to be a Federal advisory committee for purposes of the Federal
Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
(e) Members of Council not Federal officers or employees
Members of the Council (other than a member from the FBI or any at-large member who may be
a Federal official or employee) shall not, by virtue of such membership, be deemed--
(1) to be, for any purpose other than to effect the Compact, officers or employees of the United
States (as defined in sections 2104 and 2105 of Title 5); or
(2) to become entitled by reason of Council membership to any compensation or benefit payable
or made available by the Federal Government to its officers or employees.
§ 14615. Enforcement and implementation
All departments, agencies, officers, and employees of the United States shall enforce the Compact
and cooperate with one another and with all Party States in enforcing the Compact and effectuating
its purposes. For the Federal Government, the Attorney General shall make such rules, prescribe
such instructions, and take such other actions as may be necessary to carry out the Compact and this
§ 14616. National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact
The Contracting Parties agree to the following:
(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.
In this Compact:
(1) Attorney General
The term "Attorney General" means the Attorney General of the United States.
(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;
(B) with respect to a Party State, the chief administrator of the State's criminal history record
repository or a designee of the chief administrator who is a regular full-time employee of the
The term "Council" means the Compact Council established under Article VI.
(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
(B) does not include identification information such as fingerprint records if such information does
not indicate involvement of the individual with the criminal justice system.
(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
(7) Criminal justice agency
The term "criminal justice agency"--
(i) courts; and
(ii) a governmental agency or any subunit thereof that--
(I) performs the administration of criminal justice pursuant to a statute or Executive order; and
(II) allocates a substantial part of its annual budget to the administration of criminal justice; and
(B) includes Federal and State inspectors general offices.
(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
(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
The term "FBI" means the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(13) Interstate Identification Index System [III]
The term "Interstate Identification Index System" or "III System"--
(A) means the cooperative Federal-State system for the exchange of criminal history records; and
(B) includes the National Identification Index, the National Fingerprint File and, to the extent of
their participation in such system, the criminal history record repositories of the States and the FBI.
(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
(17) Nonparty State
The term "Nonparty State" means a State that has not ratified this Compact.
(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.
(19) Party State
The term "Party State" means a State that has ratified this Compact.
(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--
(i) not available for criminal justice uses;
(ii) not supported by fingerprints or other accepted means of positive identification; or
(iii) subject to restrictions on dissemination for noncriminal justice purposes pursuant to a court
order related to a particular subject or pursuant to a Federal or State statute that requires action on
a sealing petition filed by a particular record subject; and
(B) with respect to juveniles, whatever each State determines is a sealed record under its own law
The term "State" means any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of
Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
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
(C) regulate the use of records received by means of the III System from Party States when such
records are supplied by the FBI directly to other Federal agencies;
(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,
(A) information from Nonparty States; and
(B) information from Party States that is available from the FBI through the III System, but is not
available from the Party State through the III System;
(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
(4) modify or enter into user agreements with Nonparty State criminal history record repositories
to require them to establish record request procedures conforming to those prescribed in Article V.
(b) State responsibilities
Each Party State shall--
(1) appoint a Compact officer who shall--
(A) administer this Compact within that State;
(B) ensure that Compact provisions and rules, procedures, and standards established by the
Council under Article VI are complied with in the State; and
(C) regulate the in-State use of records received by means of the III System from the FBI or from
other Party States;
(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;
(B) the State's III System-indexed criminal history records for noncriminal justice purposes
described in Article IV;
(3) participate in the National Fingerprint File; and
(4) provide and maintain telecommunications links and related equipment necessary to support the
services set forth in this Compact.
(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.
(2) Administration of Compact provisions shall not reduce the level of service available to
authorized noncriminal justice users on the effective date of this Compact.
ARTICLE IV--AUTHORIZED RECORD DISCLOSURES
(a) State criminal history record repositories
To the extent authorized by section 552a of Title 5, (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, (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
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
(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
(2) may not charge a fee for providing criminal history records in response to an electronic request
for a record that does not involve a request to process fingerprints.
(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
(A) the FBI shall so advise the State criminal history record repository; and
(B) the State criminal history record repository shall be entitled to obtain the additional criminal
history record information from the FBI or other State criminal history record repositories.
ARTICLE VI--ESTABLISHMENT OF COMPACT COUNCIL
(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
The Council shall--
(A) continue in existence as long as this Compact remains in effect;
(B) be located, for administrative purposes, within the FBI; and
(C) be organized and hold its first meeting as soon as practicable after the effective date of this
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
(B) 1 shall be a representative of the noncriminal justice agencies of the Federal Government.
(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--
(A) 1 shall be a representative of State or local criminal justice agencies; and
(B) 1 shall be a representative of State or local noncriminal justice agencies.
(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.
(5) One member, nominated by the Director of the FBI, who shall serve a 3-year term, and who
shall be an employee of the FBI.
(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
(B) shall serve a 2-year term and may be reelected to only 1 additional 2-year term.
(2) Duties of Vice Chairman
The Vice Chairman of the Council shall serve as the Chairman of the Council in the absence of the
(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.
A majority of the Council or any committee of the Council shall constitute a quorum of the Council
or of such committee, respectively, for the conduct of business. A lesser number may meet to hold
hearings, take testimony, or conduct any business not requiring a vote.
(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
(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
(a) In general
This Compact shall bind each Party State until renounced by the Party State.
Any renunciation of this Compact by a Party State shall--
(1) be effected in the same manner by which the Party State ratified this Compact; and
(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.
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--
(A) interpretation of this Compact;
(B) any rule or standard established by the Council pursuant to Article V; and
(C) any dispute or controversy between any parties to this Compact; and
(2) hold a hearing concerning any dispute described in paragraph (1) at a regularly scheduled
meeting of the Council and only render a decision based upon a majority vote of the members of the
Council. Such decision shall be published pursuant to the requirements of Article VI(e).
(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, or other statutory authority.