Protection of Privacy of Computerized Records in the National Crime Information Center

The purpose of this article is to describe the social benefits and costs of the NCIC and to indicate the need for a program of operational controls to temper the system’s impact on the balance between individual privacy and law enforcement needs. Various approaches which could be incorporated into a program of safeguards are introduced and briefly analyzed. Finally, the article discusses several overall design issues which should be considered in the construction of an adequate program of safeguards. Particular emphasis is placed on the NCCH file since it is the major source of the tensions underlying the issues addressed.