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FBI Unveils New Facial Recognition System

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Prepare yourselves for a protracted battle between privacy rights advocates and the FBI this winter. FBI officials told the website NextGov by January they will activate a nationwide facial recognition service, allowing local police in select states to identify unknown subjects in photos.

The Feds are embarking on “a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects,” reports NextGov. The upgrade will include the use of  other biometric markers like iris scans and voice recordings.

Often law enforcement authorities will “have a photo of a person and for whatever reason they just don’t know who it is [but they know] this is clearly the missing link to our case,” Nick Megna, a unit chief at the FBI’s criminal justice information services division, told NextGov.

Currently, officers would need the name of an individual to search for mugshots in their database. But, according to NextGov,

“Using the new Next-Generation Identification system that is under development, law enforcement analysts will be able to upload a photo of an unknown person; choose a desired number of results from two to 50 mug shots; and, within 15 minutes, receive identified mugs to inspect for potential matches.”

Sunita Patel, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, has voiced concerns about the new technology.

“Any database of personal identity information is bound to have mistakes. And with the most personal immutable traits like our facial features and fingerprints, the public can’t afford a mistake,” she said, according to NextGov. “The federal government is using local cops to create a massive surveillance system.”

Michigan, Washington, Florida and North Carolina will test out the new systems this winter, before it is unrolled nationwide in 2014, the website reported.

To read more click here.


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