In April of this year, I highlighted the FBI’s disturbing and Orwellian plan to launch a massive biometric database known as the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System in the post, FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in Facial Recognition Database by 2015. In that piece I noted that:

The latest article from the EFF that caught my attention was published a couple of days ago, and shines light on the disturbing push by the FBI to create an extensive facial recognition database, which will include criminal and non-criminal photos alike. The information received by the EFF via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demonstrates that the feds may have a mugshot database with up to 52 million photos by 2015.

The program is called Next Generation Identification (NGI), and the aspect of it that bothers the EFF most is the fact that non-criminal and criminal photos will be combined in the same database. So someone who has no criminal record can suddenly be flagged as a suspect just because an algorithm says so. What’s worst, research shows that the potential for false positive identification increases as the dataset increases.

The Verge reports that:

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system is now fully operational, after more than three years of development. The bureau announced today that development on the project is complete, and it would be rolling out new features for ongoing criminal notifications as well as a controversial facial recognition feature called the Interstate Photo System, or IPS. IPS will serve as “an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities,” according to the release.

The facial recognition system has come under fire from privacy groups for mixing traditional mug shot photos with non-criminal faces pulled from employment records and background check databases. The system is expected to collect as many as 52 million faces in total. Some in the industry have also called out the IPS as ineffective, based on its relatively low rate of success. For a given face, NGI returns a list of 50 candidates, and only promises an 85 percent chance that the suspect will be on the list.

In the event the above fails to sufficiently creep you out, you’ll be pleased to learn that none other than drone manufacturer Lockheed Martin was the winner of the FBI’s NGI contract.

Fear not, our benevolent bureaucratic bankster military-industrial complex overlords would never do us any harm…


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