The job of law enforcement agencies around the world is becoming increasingly more difficult. Weapons are more advanced, and computers have made the criminals smarter and harder to detect. In addition, the felons have more money, and the advantage of working outside the realm of ethics. It seems now that many crimes and felons operate without borders. This made apparent the need for an international information system to track violent criminals, terrorists, and numerous other perpetrators.
Information about criminals has been kept on file since the 1930's. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) was the beginning of the nation's crime information system. Immediately upon establishing this Database, its value was obvious.
The initial reaction was positive. Over the next several years more and more agencies joined UCR and the information started to pour in. Eventually the pitfalls started to become apparent. First the information was slow to be disseminated.
A requesting agency many times had to wait several days for the requested information to be sent. In addition, the information although complete from one agency, had missing information because the felon was arrested in a rural agency that didn't have the resources needed to report crimes. The advances of the computer solved many of these problems. Now information was quickly available; data input was easier and relatively inexpensive, allowing more agencies to get involved. However, although these advances in technology made this database a reality, it also created a means for illegal activities. The validity and accuracy of the information started to come into question.
Now, much of law enforcement in the United States is connected through a vast network of computers. Many agencies are linked outside the United States to agencies like, Interpol, in Great Britain, and many more sharing information with our NATO partners.
This sharing of...