FBI Uses Facial Recognition Software to Catch Criminals

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification System uses mugshots, fingerprints and more to keep data on criminals.

The FBI recently adopted an identification system that uses facial recognition and other methods to find suspected criminals.

The FBI began running the Next Generation Identification, or NGI, system in September. NGI, which was designed by Lockheed Martin for $1 billion dollars, uses millions of mugshots and fingerprints to keep data on criminals, according to cbsnews.com.

Facial recognition software matches pictures of individuals with that database of faces to identify people.

Police departments anywhere in the U.S. can submit photos and get a response in just two hours from the facial recognition technology.

But some people are voicing concerns over privacy after the FBI used the State Department’s database, which has citizen passports, for NGI. In 2013 the privacy activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the FBI, arguing the facial recognition software was an overreach into citizen’s lives, but a member of the FBI has downplayed that claim and insisted no privacy is being violated.

The FBI says NGI is still evolving and has the potential to analyze physical characteristics like scars and tattoos and even people’s voices.

Facebook and other social media websites also use facial recognition software.

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