The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been developing a gigantic database containing biometric information on a significant portion of the United States. Unlike like the AFT’s Precog system, new documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer. The human identifiers contained in this database — photos, fingerprints, facial signatures, iris scans, palm prints, birthmarks, voice recognition, DNA — are not only taken from people who have been arrested, they are also being collected from millions of Americans who have not been charged with any crime.
The database is called “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) is being built upon the FBI’s legacy database of 100 illion fingerprints collected over the past several decades, called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Now, the FBI’s Biometric Center of Excellence has taken that database and expanded it to include all sorts of other personal identifiers. It is estimated that one-third of the population of the USA has personal bodily identifiers stored in the FBI’s database.
One of the biggest concerns about NGI has been the fact that it will include non-criminal as well as criminal face images. We now know that FBI projects that by 2015, the database will include 4.3 million images taken for non-criminal purposes. Nearly 1 Million Images Will Come from Unexplained Sources:
- 46 million criminal images
- 4.3 million civil images
- 215,000 images from the Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC)
- 750,000 images from a “Special Population Cognizant” (SPC) category
- 215,000 images from “New Repositories”
Currently, if you apply for any type of job that requires fingerprinting or a background check, your prints are sent to and stored by the FBI in its civil print database. However, the FBI has never before collected a photograph along with those prints. This is changing with NGI. Now an employer could require you to provide a “mug shot” photo along with your fingerprints. If that’s the case, then the FBI will store both your face print and your fingerprints along with your biographic data.
For more on our concerns about the increased role of face recognition in criminal and civil contexts, read Jennifer Lynch’s 2012 Senate Testimony. We will continue to monitor the FBI’s expansion of NGI.