The American Civil Liberties Union today is asking the FBI field offices in 29 states and Washington, D.C. to turn over records related to the agency’s collection and use of race and ethnicity data in local communities. According to an FBI operations guide, FBI agents have the authority to collect information about and create maps of so-called “ethnic-oriented” businesses, behaviors, lifestyle characteristics and cultural traditions in communities with concentrated ethnic populations.
While some racial and ethnic data collection by some agencies might be helpful in lessening discrimination, the FBI’s attempt to collect and map demographic data using race-based criteria for targeting purposes invites unconstitutional racial profiling by law enforcement, says the ACLU.
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