MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – A new facial-recognition program, designed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was announced on September 15, reports the International Business Times.
“This effort is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler”, read a FBI statement released on September 15. The facial-recognition program is known as the Next Generation Identification System (NGI).
The NGI database has over 100 million records of individuals’ finger and palm prints, iris scans and facial recognition images. These data are then matched with individuals’ personal information, including home address, age, legal status and other private details, notes the Centre for Research on Globalization, a Montreal-based independent research organization.
The NGI has attracted controversy among pro-privacy and civil libertarian NGOs, who claim that the program’s huge processing power will pose a threat to the privacy of those with no criminal records. “The capacity of the FBI to collect and retain information, even on innocent Americans, has grown exponentially… It is essential for the American public to have a complete picture of all the programs and authorities the FBI uses to track our daily lives, and an understanding of how those programs affect our civil rights and civil liberties”, stated the American Civil Liberties Union in a letter addressed to Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States.
Currently, there are no federal laws that limit the use of facial-recognition software, either by the private sector or the government.