Facial recognition is commonly used for all sorts of reasons all around the world. One of the places that facial recognition technology is particularly beneficial is in security and law enforcement. Facial recognition helps law enforcement officers capture criminals and link criminals to multiple crimes.
The FBI has begun to roll out a new nationwide facial recognition system that costs $1 billion. The new system is called the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system and is a nationwide database of mug shots, iris scans, DNA records, voice samples, and other biometric indicators. The goal of the system is to help the FBI identify and capture criminals.
The system sounds very helpful on the surface, but some privacy advocates are concerned that the methods the system uses to capture its biometric data. The concern is because the biometric data is being captured through a network of cameras and photo databases nationwide. Facial recognition systems have come a long way over the years with reports indicating that the system can match a single face from a pool 1.6 million mug shots and passport photos with 92% accuracy in under 1.2 seconds.
Reports indicate that with automated, biometric border controls where the face and corresponding mug shot are well lit the accuracy of the system approaches 100%. For now, the FBI system uses mug shots and driver’s license photos of known criminals, but privacy advocates fear the system because the FBI hasn’t guaranteed it will always limit the system to known criminals. The system could be expanded to use all passport photos and drivers’ license photos of citizens in the US at some point in the future.