FBI Facial Recognition Database Ten Times Larger Than Promised, Contains 90% Non-Criminals

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
By Paul Martin

21 Jun 2016

When the FBI announced its Next Generation Identification System in 2014, it said the database would include about 51 million photographs. A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds the system actually includes about 411 million photos, only 30 million of them “civil and criminal mugshots.”

The rest of the data comes from “the State Department’s Visa and Passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the drivers license databases of at least 16 states,” according to Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The GAO found the state of the FBI system unsettling, pointing out that error rates have not been properly assessed yet, the accuracy of the databases maintained by the FBI’s federal and state partner agencies has not been measured, and the reliability of facial recognition algorithms remains in doubt.

The GAO also thought the FBI had not done enough to inform the American people of the privacy issues raised by the existence of the new system. In fact, the FBI only allowed 30 days for public response to its demand for a Privacy Act exemption for the facial recognition system.

The Rest…HERE

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