United States Participation in Interpol Computerized Search File Project

Headnotes: 

Neither state nor federal law would prohibit participation by the United States National Central Bureau of Interpol (USNCB) in a proposed computerized information exchange system, provided the USNCB complies with all disclosure, accounting, and publication requirements imposed by applicable federal statutes, such as 22 U.S.C. § 263a, the Privacy Act, and other federal restrictions on the exchange of criminal history information.

As a matter of comity, the USNCB may comply with relevant state laws and regulations that restrict the disclosure and dissemination of personally identifiable information; however, under the Supremacy Clause, as a federal law enforcement agency it is not bound to do so.

The requirements of the Privacy Act may affect the structure and functioning of any computerized information exchange system in which the USNCB participates, particularly insofar as it would require the USNCB to verify the accuracy of data in its records prior to disclosure. Applicable international guidelines and agreements relating to information exchange and privacy protection are broader in scope than the Privacy Act, and may restrict federal law enforcement agencies’ ability to participate fully in the proposed system. Moreover, there are a number of possible international conflicts of law issues raised by the United States’ participation in Interpol generally, and in any automated information exchange system it may implement.

Updated July 9, 2014