If you're applying for a job in the near future, there's a chance you could end up on the FBI's imminent new facial recognition database alongside criminals, whether you like it or not. According to information obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the database, known as Next Generation Identification (NGI), will for the first time combine criminal and noncriminal fingerprint databases, along with records of palm prints, iris scans, and mugshots. The NGI, which sounds like Facebook mixed with the NSA, will be capable of adding 55,000 images per day and could hold up to 52 million photos by 2015, BBC News reports. The FBI say the database will help protect against terrorist and criminal activities.
One of the main issues flagged by privacy advocates is the possibility of false positives, that nightmare scenario of someone who submitted a photo for a government job or a background check being pulled into a lineup of potential criminal suspects' faces. But with the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul making privacy from sprawling government institutions one of the centerpieces of his presidential campaigns, it’s possible that there could backlash similar to that directed toward the ill-fated DHS license plate tracking database. Following a Washington Post story on DHS's solicitation of private companies, the program was cancelled in February. Google Glass also swiftly banned facial recognition apps last year, which illustrates just how creepy, and ripe for error, the technology really is.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.