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Tag: facial recognition

Border Patrol Seeks Drones with Facial-Recognition Technology

An example of a consumer-grade drone.

An example of a consumer-grade drone.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol is soliciting proposals for drones that have the ability to recognize and analyze faces.

The small unmanned aerial systems would be easy enough for an agent to launch the drone in less than five minutes, the Verge reports.

Th drones would be outfitted with sophisticated censors with facility-recognition capabilities. 

The consumer-grade drones would weigh under 55 pounds and could be carried in a truck.

Verge wrote:

One technical document included with the solicitation imagined a drone that could “distinguish between natural and artificial features, and between animals, humans, and vehicles at long range.” The drone would also include “facial recognition capabilities that allow it cross-reference any persons identified with relevant law enforcement databases.” The scenario meant as a hypothetical, illustrating the type of capability CBP is looking for rather than indicating a specific requirement. Still, those facial-recognition capabilities would work well with Homeland Security’s IDENT database, which currently contains more than 170 million fingerprints and facial images collected from non-citizens as they enter the United States. The FBI’s facial-recognition checks reach even further, scanning across 411 million photos in state and federal databases.

CBP officials said that kind of in-the-field identification could be immensely valuable to agents in the future, particularly crossed referenced with criminal records. “When a Border Patrol agent is out in the field, they may be very far from backup, they may not have great comms coverage,” said Ari Schuler, co-lead of CBP’s Silicon Valley office, which is managing the project. “If they encounter an armed group of human traffickers, for instance, they need to know whether those traffickers have a criminal record or are known to have assaulted an officer.”

Other Stories of Interest

ACLU Urges Justice Department to Investigate Use of Facial Recognition Technology

FBI-facial-recognitionBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ACLU is urging the Justice Department to investigate the use of facial recognition technology to determine whether it violates the rights of millions of Americans and disproportionately affects people of color.

The ACLU cited a recently released report by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology that concluded the controversial technology is used to identify and track people who are doing nothing wrong, like cross the street, WBALTV reports. 

In Maryland, for example, police have the ability to use facial recognition technology to search for more than 7 million state driver’s license and ID photos, more than 3 million arrest booking photos and 24.9 mugshots from the FBI’s Next Generation Identification database.

“The database is populated, I think may people with be surprised to hear, by over 7 million driver’s license photos, so every time you go to get a driver’s license you are now submitting to being a participant in a virtual lineup,” ACLU attorney David Rocah said.

The ACLU is concerned that the technology may unfairly target people of color.

“Not only do we not know how frequently it is helpful in finding an offender, how often they get a match and then identify the correct person who committed an offense, we also don’t know the error rate. We don’t know how many false matches, and how many people are falsely accused or wrongly investigated because of incorrect matches,” Rocah said.

Homeland Security Searches for Drones Capable of Facial Recognition

FBI-facial-recognitionBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security is looking to Silicon Valley for specially designed drones.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that officials met last week with technology entrepreneurs in search of small, light-weight drones that are easy to fly and can cover vast stretches of desert.

The drones also need to be able to provide images good enough to scan faces against a database for prior criminal history.

“There can be questions about how accurate that is and legitimate questions about how someone’s picture got into a database,” said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project.

Border Patrol currently uses drones, but the technology isn’t up to snuff, officials said.

Federal Watchdog Criticizes FBI Over Handling of Facial Recognition Technology

FBI-facial-recognitionBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI was criticized by a federal watchdog for using a huge database of more than 411 million photos without disclosing the impact on public privacy.

The Government Accountability Office released a study on the database on Wednesday, saying the FBI did not obey disclosure requirements, the Guardian reports. 

The office is making the attorney general to determine why the FBI failed to make the disclosures.

The GAO also wants the FBI to conduct accuracy tests to determine ensure the software is working correctly.

The Privacy Act of 1974 requires law enforcement to disclose when they are using collecting personal information in a database. The GAO said the FBI failed to do that.

The FBI gets the photos from driver’s license and passport photos.

FBI’s Facial Recognition System Reaches ‘Full Operational Capability,’ Ready to Use

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s new facial recognition system is now fully operational, the bureau announced Monday.

The Next Generation Identification System also will replace the FBI’s fingerprint identification system.

“The IPS facial recognition service will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities,” the FBI said in a press release. “This effort is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler.”

The system has been criticized by civil rights groups who claim the people without criminal records are going to be turned into suspects.

The civil liberties group, Electronic Frontier Foundation, argues the system is an invasion of privacy.

“Law enforcement agencies, probation and parole officers, and other criminal justice entities will also greatly improve their effectiveness by being advised of subsequent criminal activity of persons under investigation or supervision,” EFF said in a press release. “The IPS [Interstate Photo System] facial recognition service will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities.”

Man Wanted on Child Sexual Abuse Charges Identified with FBI’s Facial Recognition Technology

RecognitionSource.net

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s facial recognition technology helped nab a man wanted on child sex abuse charges, Gizmodo reports.

Neil Stammer, who speaks more than 10 languages, was wanted for 14 years and seemed to have no problem evading authorities.

That was until recently when he submitted a visa application at the U.S. Embassy in Nepal under a different name. The facial recognition technology indicated that the visa photo resembled Stammer.

A closer examination determined it was indeed Stammer, who is now in custody and being returned to New Mexico to face child sexual assault charges.

“It could be years until we can accurately pick out a single face in large crowd using this technology, but the days or forged paperwork helping criminals cross borders could well be over,” Gizmodo wrote.

Facebook’s Facial Recognition System Is Superior to FBI’s Next Generation Identification

RecognitionSource.net

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When the FBI’s facial recognition system becomes operational this summer, it won’t be as accurate as Facebook’s system, the Verge reports.

The Next Generation Identification, which will store millions of photos, lists a ranking of 50 possible faces with an 85% chance of being correct, according to Verge.

Facebook’s new DeepFace system, by comparison, is more accurate. Give it two photos and it will identify the person with 97% accuracy.

“What will kill these systems is the false-accept rate,” said Shahar Belkin, CTO of FST Biometrics. “I don’t believe we’ll see a solution for that in the next five to ten years.”

Part of the problem is that the FBI is using poor quality photos that don’t show the face straight-on.

Privacy Groups Want Audit of Facial Recognition Technology Before Database Goes Live

From ivs-biometrics.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI prepares to begin using a controversial facial recognition system later this year, more than 30 privacy groups are urging the Justice Department to conduct a long-pledged audit of the database, the National Journal reports.

Groups are worried about the privacy of American citizens and said the lack of oversight “raises serious privacy and civil-liberty concerns,” according to a joint letter sent Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder.

“The capacity of the FBI to collect and retain information, even on innocent Americans, has grown exponentially,” the letter reads. “It is essential for the American public to have a complete picture of all the programs and authorities the FBI uses to track our daily lives, and an understanding of how those programs affect our civil rights and civil liberties.”

The Next Generation Identification program includes a biometric database that scans irises, palm prints and faces.

“One of the risks here, without assessing the privacy considerations, is the prospect of mission creep with the use of biometric identifiers,” said Jeramie Scott, national security counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, another of the letter’s signatories. “it’s been almost two years since the FBI said they were going to do an updated privacy assessment, and nothing has occurred.”