Home > Face Recognition, Privacy, Video Surveillance > FBI to use Face Recognition on 13 Million Faces

FBI to use Face Recognition on 13 Million Faces

In the latest stage of its one Billion USD worth Next Generation Identification Program, the FBI will deploy free face recognition software nation-wide in the US to law enforcement agencies. Using this software, faces can automatically be compared to a database of close to 13 Million faces. The FBI is stressing that these faces are just mug shots and are not taken from other sources such as social media. Full operational capability of the system is expected in 2014. Of course, there are privacy concerns about this system. Being identified at any time in public places is certainly quite a big intrusion into our personal privacy and freedom and should not be taken lightly.

However, I doubt that the system will work well for public surveillance, at least in the beginning. I just returned from Security Essen, the biggest security trade fair in Europe, and tried various face recognition systems myself. It was once again confirmed that face recognition nowadays works very well for access control (that is for “verification” not “identification”). In this scenario the user wants to be recognized, is voluntarily enrolled in the same system he is recognized with and the system knows which face it should expect. Face recognition in other scenarios and in crowds is much harder and requires very good camera positions and high quality shots of a person, who is enrolled (with various pictures of the face). I do not see this technology being successfully deployed anytime soon in public places and areas where unsuspecting civilians should be recognized. The further development of this project should be observed, especially how the FBI will use the system once it is fully operational.

  1. nonviolentconflict
    October 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Reblogged this on NonviolentConflict.

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