FBI's $1B USD Facial Recognition Project Enjoys Strong Bipartisan Support
September 10, 2012 2:10 PM
comment(s) - last by
Big Brother gets a boost from bleeding edge technology
President Barack Obama wants to trim defense spending. Former Mass. Governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to bump the defense budget. But one thing
both agree on
funding is funding the
U.S. National Intelligence Agency
's (NIA) ambitious
bid, which along with other advanced identification efforts, currently has been earmarked $1B USD in Congressional funding.
I. Facial Recognition is Now
Much of the funding goes to researchers working at Pittsburgh, Penn.'s
Carnegie Mellon University
. By 2010, CMU
[PDF] to Congress that it could pick out a person's face out of a database of 1.6m mug shots approximately 92 percent of the time. While that high success rate did require the target be looking at the camera,
's lab is working to improve the algorithms so they can recognize faces at other angles too -- even if the person is looking away.
a 3D model of the face
, the CMU algorithms render expected images from various angles for comparison. Currently, the biggest challenge is lighting. Results can be improved by augmenting the visible light data with infrared camera images -- but infrared cameras are expensive, and are relatively rare
at public locations
The FBI is spending hundreds of millions in an effort to track U.S. citizens in public and on the internet, using advanced facial recognition. [Image Source: Hang the Bankers]
[PDF] before the U.S. Senate told the legislators, "FACE recognition is 'now'."
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
is indeed looking to roll the technology out as part of its
Next Generation Identification (NGI) program
. The program will also add other biometric identification technologies, including iris scans, DNA analysis, and voice identification.
an international policing body
-- has long maintained a similar database to target high profile criminals such as international thieves, terrorists,
and child sex predators
But the new NGI effort, to be rolled out nationwide by 2014, represents the first effort to create a
database of images
of all criminal offenders in America. Some states already have begun to upload their photos at the program's kickoff in February. Currently the FBI's publicly announced plans have been limited to facial recognition on criminals.
II. Fighting Crime, or "Big Brother is Watching YOU"?
However, the FBI has also hinted that it might add photos of individuals under investigation, or individuals who appeared near high-profile persons of interest to the database. The latter prospect has privacy advocates most alarmed, as it could land you on "Big Brother's database" without a single criminal act.
In fact, the FBI appears to be doing exactly that already, as some states now pass
drivers' license headshots
to the agency for future reference/screening. The ambiguity surrounding photographic databases and facial recognition of law-abiding citizens has advocacies very upset.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
attorney Jennifer Lynch
that her nonprofit advocacy is concerned that the FBI is creeping towards civilian photographic databases with these efforts. And Jay Stanley of the
American Civil Liberties Union
comments, "Once you start plugging this into the FBI database, it becomes tantamount to a
national photographic database
The FBI has bipartisan support for developing facial recognition algorithms and databases to spot U.S. citizens -- regardless of whether they're criminals. [Image Source: Djibnet]
The prospect is a frightening one for several reasons. First, some fear it could lead to an escalation
in the "war on drugs"
, which already is responsible for the U.S.'s world leading imprisonment rate. Second, some fear that it is a step towards an Orwellian system of crackdown on dissenters; after all, the trademark of George Orwell's iconic
was "Big Brother is
you." Finally, such systems could easily lead to
micro-scale abuses without sufficient transparency and regulation
; for example an agent could potentially use the system to stalk an ex.
In short, there are many questions to be asked. But Congress and the intelligence agencies are leaning towards pushing the program now, and shelving answers to those questions for a later date. With the majority leadership of both parties on a federal level eager to
expand domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens
and throwing money at the objective, the plans are poised to rapidly escalate over the next couple years.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Convenient America
9/12/2012 7:59:18 AM
"We Americans are too in love with our little lives and as long as Big Brother just screws over people we don’t care about it is all fine with us. So when we wake up one morning we will have our government minder tell us what to do for the day but don’t worry there will still be 500+ channels of crappy HDTV to watch and the NBA, NHL, NFL, major league soccer will still be around. So many will be just fine with the newer safer and more convenient America."
This is called media brain washing. It happens on a massive scale in America alone!. Unique country in the world where such "media indoctrination" happens and still is very successful. Just look at the "evangelical Christians" in the US. They are responsible for recent wars that killed millions of innocent people and yet they go to church every sunday and do what ?. Oblivious to what they had done ?. The worse terrorists on the planet by deed done. They bought into the lies and deceit. The rest of the world can see that.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
Dept. of Homeland Sec. Brings War Blimps to the Mexican Border
August 15, 2012, 6:11 PM
Obama Admin. Plans $200M USD "Big Data" Spending Spree
April 2, 2012, 1:00 PM
ISP Defies FBI's Gag Order, Agent's Warrantless Surveillance Demands
March 18, 2012, 1:33 PM
New App Can ID Complete Stranger's Facebook and Social Security No.
September 9, 2011, 10:02 AM
Obama Admin. Fights to Renew Warrantless Wiretaps, Block Transparency
July 31, 2011, 1:50 PM
Update: Samsung Responds to Reports of Screen Gaps on Galaxy Note 4
September 30, 2014, 11:02 AM
Apple to Begin iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Sales in China October 17
September 30, 2014, 9:55 AM
eBay to Spin Off PayPal Business Next Year
September 30, 2014, 7:28 AM
HP Adds $99 Windows Tablet, $199 Windows Notebook to Stream Family
September 29, 2014, 7:17 PM
Following Quirky Passport, BlackBerry Aims to Release One Unconventional Device Per Year
September 29, 2014, 6:45 PM
New Optical Cloak is so Beautifully Simple You Can Build Them at Home
September 29, 2014, 5:10 PM
Most Popular Articles
Appalling Negligence: Decade-Old Windows XPe Holes Led to Home Depot Hack
September 8, 2014, 8:58 PM
iBend: Reports Grow of Razor-Thin iPhone 6+ Folding Like Origami in Your Pocket
September 23, 2014, 6:08 PM
New AT&T Mobile Share Value "Double Data" Promotion Lasts Through October
September 28, 2014, 8:32 AM
Update: Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2 Update to Make Up for Botched 8.0.1 Release
September 25, 2014, 8:19 PM
FBI Outraged That Apple, Google are Adopting Digital "Locks" to Protect Users
September 26, 2014, 1:00 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information