Monthly Archives: February 2007

Automated background checks

At SentryLink, we like to keep up with the latest technology, so we were interested to learn about a new device that can automatically run a background check on someone entering a building. As reported on Kiosk Marketplace, a company called LobbyGuard Solutions has released a kiosk that will automatically run a background check against the national sex offender registry, as well as an optional internal list, before allowing them entry. Here is how it works: A person swipes their driver's license to get a visitor's badge. The kiosk reads the information from the license, which will include name and [...]

By |February 27th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks|0 Comments

What is an OFAC background check — and should I use it?

Many customers have asked us about OFAC, named for the Office of Foreign Assets Control. In this post we explore what OFAC is, what an OFAC check does, and whether it is appropriate for use in corporate employment screening. The Office of Foreign Assets Control is part of the U. S. Treasury. It is the official body that determines whether or not an entity or individual is permitted to do business with the United States. Sanctions, first used in 1812 against Great Britain, are part of the tools used to apply financial pressure to a group. The government learned a [...]

By |February 23rd, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Employment screening|9 Comments

The origin of variable sentencing for criminal convictions

In the United States and many other countries, sentencing is a separate phase of a criminal trial. Once a defendant has been convicted, a judge will typically determine his punishment in the sentencing phase -- and that punishment can vary. We are so used to this that the origin of the tradition is rarely questioned. But why would two people who committed the same crime serve different jail sentences? You might assume the purpose is to allow the circumstances of the crime to be taken into account, and indeed this is its main use today. As it turns out, variable [...]

By |February 19th, 2007|Categories: Legal|0 Comments

The FBI’s National Criminal Information Center

Today we look at the mother of all criminal record databases: the National Criminal Information Center, or NCIC. This is a compilation of various criminal record files that are maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The files of greatest interest for background check purposes tend to be the list of wanted persons, and individuals who have been "charged with serious and/or significant offenses". The NCIC actually has seven categories of people in its database. In addition to the two mentioned above, it includes: Missing persons. People the Secret Service believes are a danger to the President or other protected [...]

By |February 15th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Employment screening|5 Comments

Suppressing criminal records in Massachusetts

There is an active public debate with respect to the longevity of criminal records. Many advocates are concerned that even a minor crime, committed 20 years ago, can follow a person for the rest of their life. It can limit their job opportunities, marginalizing them and perhaps making it more likely they will return to the criminal sector. This can happen even for incidents such as arrests or dismissed charges, where the accused may be innocent of a crime. On the federal level there are some limitations imposed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) with respect to the use [...]

By |February 13th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Employment screening, FCRA|0 Comments

Speeding through airport security with the help of a criminal background check

Most of us think of background checks in the context of applying for a job, or an apartment. But if you travel on airplanes, you probably go through airport security a lot more often than you change jobs. The steps a airline traveler goes through -- lugagge screening, removing shoes, opening up a laptop, and passing lookup up against a no-fly list, constitute a background check in their own right. It is probably fair to say that most of us consider this something of an inconvenience. The Transportation Security Administration has a Registered Traveler program that may allow travelers to [...]

By |February 12th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Employment screening, FCRA|3 Comments
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