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If you're one of those people who likes being told before a friend snaps your picture, then you're going to hate the FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) System.

NGI, which was launched in 2011, is now fully operational the FBI said Monday. Part of the new technology, the Interstate Photo System (IPS), lets law enforcement search through FBI databases of images and locate for various criminal identities. The image searching system will eventually replace the FBI's fingerprinting system as well as provide the agency with many kinds of "new services and capabilities."

Privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have warned that in addition to criminal mugshots, IPS will also have access to civilian photographs. Roughly 4.3 million of the database's 52 million photos will be civilian images by 2015, taken for non-criminal purposes like employment identification.

The group expressed concerns about who will have access to the information.

The FBI and Congress have thus far failed to enact meaningful restrictions on what types of data can be submitted to the system, who can access the data, and how the data can be used."

Compared with the FBI's instant facial recognition, the NSA looks like child's play.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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