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Fingerprint background checks are an important tool for organizations looking to verify the criminal histories of potential employees, volunteers, or tenants. This type of background check uses biometric data to identify individuals and their criminal records, making it one of the most reliable methods of screening. However, many people wonder how far back a fingerprint background check can go. In this blog post, we will explore the history and technology behind fingerprint background checks and answer this important question.
The History of Fingerprinting
Fingerprinting has been used as a method of identification for over 100 years. The first recorded use of fingerprinting for identification purposes was in Argentina in 1892. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that fingerprinting became widely accepted as a method of identification in law enforcement.
In the United States, the first use of fingerprints by law enforcement was in 1902, when a man named Thomas Jennings was convicted of murder based on fingerprint evidence. Since then, fingerprinting has become a standard part of criminal investigations and is used by law enforcement agencies around the world.
The Technology Behind Fingerprint Background Checks
Fingerprint background checks rely on biometric data to identify individuals and their criminal records. This data is collected by scanning an individual’s fingerprints and comparing them to a database of known fingerprints. The database used for fingerprint background checks is typically maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is known as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).
The IAFIS database contains over 100 million fingerprint records and is constantly updated with new records. This database is accessible to law enforcement agencies, employers, and other organizations that require fingerprint background checks.
How Far Back Can a Fingerprint Background Check Go?
Now, let’s answer the question on everyone’s mind: how far back can a fingerprint background check go? The short answer is that it depends on the type of check being conducted and the agency or organization performing the check.
For example, an employer conducting a pre-employment fingerprint background check may only look at records from the past seven years. This is because the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) limits the reporting of criminal records to seven years, with some exceptions for certain types of crimes.
On the other hand, a law enforcement agency conducting a criminal investigation may look at an individual’s entire criminal history, including any records that may be decades old. This is because there are no restrictions on how far back a law enforcement agency can go when conducting a criminal investigation.
Fingerprint background checks are an important tool for organizations looking to verify the criminal histories of potential employees, volunteers, or tenants. These checks rely on biometric data to identify individuals and their criminal records, making them one of the most reliable methods of screening. The technology behind fingerprint background checks has evolved over the past century, and today, fingerprinting is a standard part of criminal investigations around the world.
So, how far back can a fingerprint background check go? As we’ve seen, it depends on the type of check being conducted and the agency or organization performing the check. While employers are typically limited to looking at records from the past seven years, law enforcement agencies have no restrictions on how far back they can go when conducting a criminal investigation. As technology continues to advance, fingerprint background checks will likely become even more accurate and reliable, making them an essential tool for maintaining public safety.