Saturday, January 07, 2006

Database errors plague immigration enforcement

An investigation into the accuracy of the FBI's National Crime Information Center database has found astonishing error rates that average 42%:

Thousands of times each year, police officers checking the name of an individual stopped or detained against records in the nation's main criminal database have received an initial "hit" for an immigration violation that, upon further investigation, the Department of Homeland Security could not confirm. These "false positives" have likely caused wrongful detentions and diverted scarce police resources from local public safety priorities, finds a report to be released on Thursday by the Migration Policy Institute.

There is little reason to expect significantly higher accuracy in the phalanx of databases being set up by UK law enforcement agencies, crowned by the proposed National Identity Register. (Thanks, Alex!)

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