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It starts the moment you wake up and turn off your alarm: Your smartphone records and sends to the cloud each interaction you make, from every email thread to every check-in you make at any location.

Getting to work or school is no different. The turn-by-turn navigation app on your phone is silently sending and receiving your GPS location data, while the photo your sister uploaded on Facebook from last night automatically tags you because it has learned to recognize your face after processing hundreds of your photos.

When you actually stop to think about its reach into our activities, behaviors and movement, it is undeniable that technology is ingrained in our daily lives. And it brings us immense benefits, including personalized services and conveniences that connect people across continents and enrich our lives.

iHLS Israel Homeland Security

Moreover, such data – part of an ever-growing record of everyone’s online activity — has also begun to be used by police and law enforcement agencies to solve crimes.

But as our digital footprints grow in volume and complexity, what controls do we have in place to protect our privacy and secure our records from unauthorized access?

The use of technological records and a digital footprint to solve crimes may not be surprising, but its application within law enforcement is increasingly becoming commonplace: these types of issues have already begun to be addressed through guidelines set out by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services.

These compliance rules apply to all law enforcement IT systems that touch or access criminal justice data, including biometric data (e.g., fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans and facial recognition data), identity history, biographic data, property data and case/incident history. In essence, any electronic record of anything related to victims, suspects, crimes or any law enforcement incident.