Background Investigation by Private Investigator

A Background Investigation By A New Jersey Private Investigator must Comply with Federal and State regulations

Federal  and State regulations determine when a New Jersey Private Investigator can run a data-base background investigation. In order to conduct background investigations a private investigator must possess a permissible purpose https://cowaninvestigations.com/background-investigations-in-new-jersey/.  A New Jersey private Investigator is not permitted to conduct a background investigation search for improper purposes, thus the guidelines. It is extremely important the investigator and client have legitimate reasons when conducting background investigations https://cowaninvestigations.com/backgrounds/.   There is just not a permissible use to be running someones background as part of a dating service.   I have thirty-five years of police experience https://cowaninvestigations.com/bio/ , as the former Chief of the Jersey Police department I learned the importance of abiding by federal and state law.

Former Jersey City Police Chief Bob Cowan addresses an audience as Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop looks on

During my law enforcement career background investigations were often conducted during multiple phases of an investigation.  The best way to achieve positive results in an investigation is to respect all controlling law, regulations and rules.  Failing to follow protocols as to the propriety of a background investigation will result in suppression of evidence.  In addition, the New Jersey Private Investigator as well as the authorizing client could be subject to sanctions.

Federal Law Protecting Driver Information During A New Jersey Background Investigation

In an earlier article I discussed how federal law was enacted that protected a drivers motor vehicle information. This legislation known as the Drivers Privacy Protection Act was enacted in 1994, often referred to as the DPPA. There is an interesting story in regard to the enactment of the DPPA which highlights the need for such protections. The bill was first introduced in 1992 by Virginia Congressman Jim Moran. Moran proposed the legislation after an increase of opponents of abortion rights were using public databases to track down and harass abortion providers and patients.  Without my taking a position on any side of the highly charged abortion issue, use of drivers data-base information to harass is just plain wrong. During a New Jersey Background Investigation a permissible must exist for the accessing of motor vehicle information.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Records are protected by the Drivers Privacy Protection Act

 

The DPPA prevents state departments of motor vehicles and all other entities to whom the DMVs provide information from disclosing a driver’s personal information without that driver’s consent. State Division of motor vehicles violating the DPPA are subject to civil penalties.  The DPPA will not prohibit using of driver data during a background investigation. The Driver Privacy Protection Act regulates how and under what circumstances driver data can be used.  Simply put,   a New Jersey Private Investigator can use driver data during a background investigation, use must be within the regulations.In

 

Under What Circumstances Can A New Jersey Private Investigator Obtain Driver Information During A Background Investigation

Under the DPPA, personal information contained in a motor vehicle record may be disclosed for

use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency, in carrying out its functions, or

to any private person or entity acting on behalf of a Federal, State, or local agency; and

for use in connection with any civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitral proceeding in any Federal, State, or local court or agency or before any self-regulatory body, or pursuant to a Federal, State, or local court

In my New Jersey Private Investigator firm https://cowaninvestigations.com/hire-local/, I will most often justify accessing driver data for purposes of litigation. Most of my investigations are marital and divorce, in which case I would be checking the box indicating Civil Case before a state court.  When I conduct a background investigation it is often done in order to investigate a divorce related issue such as alimony and cohabitation https://cowaninvestigations.com/new-jersey-alimony-investigation-1/ or child custody. to be crystal clear, directly below I have copy and pasted the language as it appears in the DPPA, 18 U.S. Code 2721. (Prohibition on release and use of certain personal information from state motor vehicle records).

(4) For use in connection with any civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitral proceeding in any Federal, State, or local court or agency or before any self-regulatory body, including the service of process, investigation in anticipation of litigation, and the execution of enforcements of judgements and orders, or pursuant to an order of a federal, state, or local court.

 

The Gramm-Leach-Baily Act and Its Affect On A Private Investigator Conducting A New Jersey Background Investigation

I recently discussed controlling federal legislation  that protects a persons financial information.  the Gramm-Leach-Baily Act (GLBA) was enacted in 1999. The GLBA was not only about privacy but was much more involved then concerns the purposes of this discussion. For our purposes it’s best to discuss the legislations effect on a Private Investigator conducting a background investigation. Unlike the Driver Privacy Protection Act the GLBA does not protect diver data, but instead protects an individuals financial information. Similar to the DPPA New Jersey Private Investigators will need a permissible purpose to conduct a background investigation.

In order to access certain financial information during a background Investigation certain permissible purposes must exist

   A New Jersey Private Investigator will always be responsible to comply with the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act.  A New Jersey Private Investigator will normally use certain private investigator informational services that only service investigators. These search engines provide a measure trove of information.  Reviewing the information returned is often comparable to putting together a very large puzzle. Not all type of inquiries on a New Jersey private investigator data-base search will require a GLBA justification. The only searches requiring a GLBA justification are searches that will return financial information.

 

The GLBA Exception Will Be Dependent On The Nature Of The Background Investigation

As I discussed earlier, my business is mostly centered around working on behalf of private clients. My investigations are mostly divorce related, such as alimony and cohabitation or child custody matters https://cowaninvestigations.com/child-custody/. The GLB exception I most often use during a background investigation is “to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud, unauthorized transactions, claims or other liability.

 

I hope this article has been helpful and informative. In my next article I will discuss the conducting of a background investigation In specific type of investigations.

____________________________________________________________________________

About the author:  Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm, Bob is the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department and has 35 years experience as a police officer in New Jersey’s second largest municipality. 

https://cowaninvestigations.com/about-us/

If you wish to speak with me regarding this article, or if you need a consultation regarding it’s contents please do not hesitate to call me at 732-837-8444, seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm.

The author Bob Cowan is the owner of the New Jersey based Cowan Investigations. Bob is the former Chief of the Jersey City Police department