While routine background checks provide employers with a one-time “snapshot” of their employee’s past criminal history, employers enrolled in federal and state Rap Back programs receive ongoing, real-time notifications and updates about their employees’ run-ins with law enforcement, including arrests at protests and charges that do not end up in convictions.
The program is expanding thanks to private companies submitting fingerprints as part of their background checks process. The FBI then stores the fingerprints indefinitely, meaning a later employer can find out if you've had a run-in with police whenever it wants. There's also nothing stopping the FBI from expanding its usage of the program.
There are no laws preventing the FBI from using the data it collects for other purposes, said Jeramie Scott, an attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. A massive trove of digital fingerprints collected by the FBI, he noted, could be used to open up devices like smart phones without the owner’s consent.