Nationwide Biometric Database Launched by FBI

Kristan T. Harris | The Rundown Live 

boimetric_idThe FBI announced its $1 Billion facial recognition program is finally up and running known as Next Generation Identification System (NGI). The program has been in development since 2008 when the FBI announced it was granting Lockheed Martin a contract to start building it.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Electronic Frontier Foundation obtained FBI documents showing the agency plans to have 52 million photos in its database by 2015.

The system is set up so that the facial recognition technology, NGI will pull in photos “associated with criminal identities” and compare them to millions of other photos taken from various sources.

This has many individuals concerned about privacy.

One concern is non-criminal photos will be  stored in the database and , the EFF says,  the FBI won’t take responsibility for inaccurate matches.

Some photos may come from one of  nearly a million database’s which will come from unexplained sources.

A writer for Techdirt ciritisized the program, saying:

“This program has some very serious issues, and it’s only going to get worse unless someone outside the FBI intervenes.”

And Engadget says the system’s 85 percent accuracy is a little worrisome as well, pointing out that there’s no explanation for what happens when the NGI generates a list of potential suspects which lacks the actual criminal.

Following the EFF report, FBI director James Comey spoke at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in June to address concerns over the scope of the NGI’s database.

FBI DIrector James Comey on C-SPAN:

“The pilot is mugshots because those are repeatable, we can count on the quality of them. “There was not a plan and there isn’t at present to add other, non-mug-shot photos.”

Which  contradict the documents the EFF dug up. The FBI plans to eventually roll out more parts of its new NGI system, including voice and iris identification.