The FBI is launching facial-recognition technology as part of its $1 billion program to fight terrorism and help make it easier to find crime suspects, New Scientist magazine reported.
Some states began uploading mug shots of criminals as part of a pilot program in February. The program is expected to be rolled out nationwide by 2014. FBI officials said that the technology will allow them to track a suspect by picking out their face in a crowd, according to New Scientist.
Facial recognition technology would also allow images of a suspect from security cameras to be compared against an FBI cache of images. The FBI would be able to search for a person by sorting through catalogs of mugshots and the images from the expansive network of cameras on street corners across the country, Gizmodo.com reported.
The FBI said its goal, “is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology,” according to Gizmodo.com.
Tests show that algorithms can pick someone out in a pool of 1.6 million mugshots 92 percent of the time and it’s also possible to match a mugshot to a photo of a person who isn't looking at the camera, the New Scientist reported.
The FBI has also partnered with issuers of state drivers' licenses for photo comparison, the New Scientist reported. Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union told New Scientist he had concerns. "Once you start plugging this into the FBI database, it becomes tantamount to a national photographic database," he said.
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