The FBI Uses Facial Recognition With 411 Million Photos

Posted: Jun 16 2016, 9:56am CDT | by , in News | Latest Political News

The FBI Uses Facial Recognition with 411 million photos
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) facial recognition system has long been debated as to whether or not it was a good idea. It was previously reported that the agency has access to just over 70 million photos, but it turns out that the number is far larger than that. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has discovered that the FBI has access to 411.9 million photos of Americans and foreigners - and many of those people do not have criminal records.

FACE can look through the collection as well as biometric databases ran by the DOJ and 16 other states. It is also able to search through the State Department's visa and passport applications for possible hits.

The EFF suggested that the "unprecedented number of photographs" isn't really the biggest problem. it has been reported that the FBI didn't test its system all that thoroughly. In fact, the GAO said that it "has done little to make sure that its search results... do not include photos of innocent people." Since facial recognition technology isn't perfect, especially when it comes to recognizing people of color, it is possible that law-abiding people will be in the mix.

It might even bring up more issues if the government grants the request to the databases to be exempt from key parts of the Privacy Act. For example, they don't want to be able to tell anyone if they are in the database.

At least it isn't available to the public.

The report from GAO has more details about the system, including a full list of shortcomings.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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