Police Compiling Biometrics Database on Americans Without Consent

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Facial recognition and biometric databases have been a reality in technology for decades, and have been used overseas by the military to assist in occupying potentially hostile populations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.Populations there not only face the possibility of becoming a statistical civilian casualty, but are processed and tagged like cattle as well.
Now, that paradigm is coming home to roost – as spy agencies like the NSA have long planned.

Biometrics are being designed for use in mass populations here in America and throughout the Western world, not just war-torn locales. According to the NY Times: Facial recognition software, which American military and intelligence agencies used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify potential terrorists, is being eagerly adopted by dozens of police departments around the country to pursue drug dealers, prostitutes and other conventional criminal suspects. But because it is being used with few guidelines and with little oversight or public disclosure, it is raising questions of privacy and concerns about potential misuse.

Already, the database is saddled by millions of people who are not criminals and have not been charged with any crime – which experts claim is reducing its effectiveness. There is about a 20% rate of false-positives which is hardly encouraging, “It is not as if there is the identification of a specific crime problem; they are simply collecting a lot of information that could impact a lot of completely innocent people,” said Michael German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and a former F.B.I. agent.

The New York Times interviewed two people upset about police detaining them on street curbs to take a photo for the biometric database, while also taking such data as cheek-swabbed DNAThey weren’t arrested, but now they are being watched more closely than people realize, as increasing numbers of cameras and computer systems are beginning to utilize law enforcement biometric databases, potentially recognizing and flagging innocent people everywhere they go, and subjecting them to possible undue suspicion.

The future already holds a bleak outlook for privacy, largely promising only greater and greater levels of surveillance and control that would not only make the founding fathers roll in their graves, but would give the average person the sense that they are under watch with preemptive suspicion … even thought they’ve done nothing wrong.
Since the FBI is cutting the ribbon on its own biometric tech center, these policies are all but guaranteed to spread to departments throughout the country.

Original Story Here

DHS Close To Perfecting Facial Recognition System

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Facial recognition technology has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of speed and accuracy over recent years. The government has poured a great deal of money into deploying facial recognition technology around the country as well.

Government databases have expanded rapidly and local police have begun to use facial recognition technology to arrest suspects.Currently, many facial recognition systems are limited in their ability to identify in the variety of conditions outlined in the statement. In addition, many systems are not at all portable. Apparently, DHS seeks to make both of these limitations a thing of the past.

Most interesting of all, the DHS statement of work reveals that the technology will be utilizing 3-Dimensional facial recognition, something which is far more accurate and requires only a small part of the suspect’s face to be captured.

Original Article Here

The New breed of government facial recognition technology

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The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) development of a Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS) has raised concerns among civil rights advocates that the technology is being developed without the necessary safeguards to protect the privacy of citizens.

BOSS is a surveillance system that uses computers and video cameras to scan faces anywhere with the purpose of identifying people through their facial features. The system, officially developed by the DHS for the purpose of identifying fugitives or suspected terrorists, was tested last fall after two years of being developed through government funding.

However, even though BOSS technology is apparently years away from being put to actual use, privacy advocates are already raising concerns over the development of facial recognition technology for use by the government. With expressed fears on the possibility that the system would be used to track everyone’s public movements simply by tapping into the comprehensive database of driver’s license photographs.

The concerns expressed by civil rights advocates are undoubtedly underpinned by the leaks released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. who revealed details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.

Full Article here

Chicago police start using facial-recognition software to arrest suspects

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Police officers in Chicago, Illinois can remotely access video shot from any of the city’s 24,000 closed-circuit television cameras, and they are already using that ability to nab suspects who thought they could outsmart surveillance.

According to a recent Chicago Sun-Time article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Frank Main, police officers in the Windy City recently issued their first arrest stemming from the use of space-age facial-recognition technology coupled with thousands of cameras that collect live video in real-time at all hours of the day.

Pierre Martin, 34, was arrested on May 2 and charged with armed robbery in connection with two incidents from earlier this year.He is the first individual to be picked up by the CPD using the facial-recognition technology, but only one month after a city-wide roll-out he is likely to not be the last.

The Transportation Security Administration has given the CTA a $5.4 million grant to aid with the program, and that money has been used to update an already impressive arsenal of city-licensed surveillance cameras to run in tandem with NeoFace, a high-tech analysis program used by various governments and law enforcement agencies around the globe to grab biometric data off of an image and match it to another.

The F.B.I has announced plans to have a database of 14 million photographs on file by next year when it rolls out its Next Generation Identification system, which will use surveillance camera clips and other footage to match suspects almost instantaneously up with a pool of persons derived from state DMV photo-shoots and other government-owned images.

Via End The Lie

Drivers Licenses becoming a resource for Police Facial recognition Databases

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Law enforcement agencies are building what critics say is becoming a de facto national, searchable database of ID photos — with pictures of both those with and without a criminal past — that uses state driver’s licence photos as a foundation.

The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” Amid rising concern about the National Security Agency’s high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, it is these state-level facial-recognition programs that more typically involve American citizens.

Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.

Sources: The Verge
Washington Post