Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy

State Photo-ID Databases Mined By Police 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the hits-keep-coming dept.
Rick Zeman writes "Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: '[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities. 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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

State Photo-ID Databases Mined By Police

Comments Filter:
  • by alen (225700) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:13PM (#44032561)

    every time someone gives a description of a getaway car, the cops look it up in the state DMV database. my car's data is in there. my privacy is violated daily because my car might be coming up in searches

    • by RMingin (985478)

      I used to own a dark green Honda Accord. Apparently that model and color was very popular among fugitives from the law. On six occasions in three years, I was pulled over for no fault of my own. On two of those six occasions, I had loaded weapons pointed at me, and was ordered to put my hands out the window while the officers approached. On two others, the officer came to the window normally, but I noticed they had the snap closure on their holster open, and kept one hand on their sidearm at all times.

      Needl

  • by paiute (550198) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:13PM (#44032567)
    My license renewal is coming up. Time to grow a beard and dye my hair.
    • Re:That reminds me (Score:5, Informative)

      by icebike (68054) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:30PM (#44032773)

      Yes, and have the distance between you eyes adjusted, lower your nose, change the bridge of your nose, and sink your cheek bones, flatten your forehead, pin your ears back, and lower them as well, change your jaw line. Photo recognition software could care less about hair color and beards.

      • by jrmcc (703725) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:49PM (#44032977)
        Why not - Amanda Bynes did it...
      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        Nothing some prosthetic sfx makeup couldn't work around.
      • "Yes, and have the distance between you eyes adjusted, lower your nose, change the bridge of your nose, and sink your cheek bones, flatten your forehead, pin your ears back, and lower them as well, change your jaw line."

        One might think expensive, cosmetic surgery is the only option when mouthing off to a cop can net you the same results. Unfortunately, they probably take before and after pictures...

      • by t4ng* (1092951)
        Hmmm, a friend of mine works as a programmer at a software company that makes facial recognition software. They recently did an experiment among the employees where people with beards shaved them off and those without beards grew one. The software failed to recognize them just after a change in facial hair.
        • by icebike (68054)

          I wager they don't sell much of that software when their competitors do so much better.

      • Re:That reminds me (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday June 17, 2013 @04:54PM (#44034133)

        Yes, and have the distance between you eyes adjusted, lower your nose, change the bridge of your nose, and sink your cheek bones, flatten your forehead, pin your ears back, and lower them as well, change your jaw line.

        Much of those can be fuzzed by avoiding a dead-on camera angle. My understanding is that most DMV's require you to look directly into the camera (and not smile), but you may get a camera operator who doesn't give a damn. The last time I had to get a DMV photo taken I was able to turn my head to the left and down with a big smirk. The ladies running the camera laughed their asses off at my picture, I really look goofy - and let it pass.

        Any facial recog software is going to have to work extra hard to calculate things like distance between eyes / nose / mouth / jaw from that picture. I'm sure really smart software could interpolate a 3D model of my face - but the incentive for that kind of software to be applied is minimal when the vast majority of DMV photos are dead-on and expressionless.

        • by skegg (666571)

          Nice that you got away with it :-) I try to do that too.

          I also suggest opening one's mouth a little while keeping the lips closed (thus giving the effect of elongating the head). Hey, it all helps.

          Any other tips are welcome!

          • by icebike (68054)

            I also suggest opening one's mouth a little while keeping the lips closed (thus giving the effect of elongating the head). Hey, it all helps.

            And you know this HOW?

  • Welcome to 1984 ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:14PM (#44032577) Homepage

    These guys are really trying hard to make sure 1984 and Brave New World actually come true.

    Once they have it, they'll misuse it, and tell you it's for your own good.

    Freedom has gone out of fashion, and now we're stuck with the surveillance society.

    • We knew this. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:31PM (#44032795)

      It's rather important to understand why this is in fact abuse, and not acceptable law enforcement behaviour.

      I say the pictures were ment to provide easy verification that the driver's licence you're holding is in fact yours. Matching against databases was not in the original charter, so to speak, and in fact storing the pictures at all beyond display on the licence itself isn't either. It is this stretching of use beyond the original what is so deceitful and ultimately damaging to society.

      This quite regardless of who does it (our watchers, for our own good, of course), with what intentions (the very best, for our own good, of course), the direct results (LE is happy with their new toy, for a while), and so on.

      We probably ought to embrace the principle that data can only ever be used for the purpose it was gathered for, and nothing else. This seems, perhaps is rather draconian, but is the only way to be clear and honest about it, making it a better option than any of the alternatives.

      • Re:We knew this. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:36PM (#44032855) Homepage

        We probably ought to embrace the principle that data can only ever be used for the purpose it was gathered for, and nothing else.

        I agree, but the more likely outcome is that they decide that everyone needs to submit to this kind of identification so they're on file. If you don't have a drivers license, you still need to be cataloged in case you commit a crime.

        School kids will have their biometrics cataloged under the guise of protecting them, and then that information will move into the police database so that as they become older we can be sure to catch them if they ever commit a crime.

        I see this getting far worse, not better. Much much worse.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        I say the pictures were ment to provide easy verification that the driver's licence you're holding is in fact yours. Matching against databases was not in the original charter, so to speak, and in fact storing the pictures at all beyond display on the licence itself isn't either.

        How else can you verify that the license was issued to the person holding it without keeping the picture of that person on file? It is relatively easy to forge a license with any picture you want, it is relatively hard to get your forged picture into the database.

        You say it is ok to have the picture to verify that the license "is yours", but that involves more than just matching the picture on the license to the person holding it. Having a picture on the license match doesn't mean the name and address and

        • by KGIII (973947)

          No but I think that it is sufficient for its purpose unless there are extenuating circumstances to investigate further. Because someone may forge a drivers license is not justification for using the data for anything else or for doing more than cursory inspections of said physical licenses for the purpose of a quick, near certain, identification. Because a small group of people may opt to violate the law does not mean that the remainder of law abiding citizens should be subject to invasive measures. That yo

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            ...does not mean that the remainder of law abiding citizens should be subject to invasive measures.

            You think that keeping the DMV photo online so the actual identity of someone can be verified is invasive, I do not. I think the ability of law enforcement to double check an identity using information that is relatively hard to forge is well worth the non-invasive nature of the process.

            I find your attempted interrogation as to political/etc affiliations to be much more invasive than simply having my driver's license photo in the DMV database. I'm supposed to object to the latter but go along happily wit

            • by KGIII (973947)

              I think that it is invasive in that they can (and will) use it for identification beyond the scope of what the photo was originally taken for.

              I, a private citizen, offered the chance for dialogue - a choice.

              Maybe you just don't know what is and isn't invasive or private? The first you have no right to give up on unless you forgo your right to a state identification card or to drive a motor vehicle. The second is an invitation that you're free to decline.

              You needn't decline it. I can see it would be a waste

              • by Obfuscant (592200)

                I think that it is invasive in that they can (and will) use it for identification beyond the scope of what the photo was originally taken for.

                I understand that it is fun and convenient to ignore some of the words when you want to make a good rant, but you should please note that I was explicit in saying what the purpose of the photos I did not find invasive was. You might as well come up with some fanciful use like editing random people's heads onto other people's bodies in sex tapes as another use for DMV photos and then rant at me about how I said that such a use wouldn't be invasive or unacceptable. You'd be just as accurate and just as hones

    • by CKW (409971) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:35PM (#44032849) Journal

      > 1984

      Is infinite and open access to information the core of "what's wrong" with society in 1984? Or is it the fact that the citizens have no control over their government, no freedom of speach, etc?

      What's the technological difference between

      - all citizens each day looking at photos of people wanted by the police for what we consider crimes, and calling the local detachment when we recognize someone
      - a computer doing the above
      - citizens calling the KGB because their neighbour said something snarky about the state
      - a computer doing the above

      > Brave New World

      And I quote: "The vast majority of the population is unified under the World State, an eternally peaceful, stable global society in which goods and resources are plentiful (because the population is permanently limited to no more than two billion people) and everyone is happy."

      I strongly object to warrantless wiretapping, and I definitely want tons of checks and balances, and I want my elected representatives to share my values.

      That doesn't mean that "databases" are inherently bad, or can't help us create a more effective just society. Like all tools, it depends on how you use them. Ever read "The Golden Age" by John C. Wright, or any of the Polity novels by Neal Asher?

      • by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:53PM (#44033009) Journal
        The core problem of information in 1984 is that it is completely malleable by the party. Black literally becomes white at a party member's whim.
      • And I quote: "The vast majority of the population is unified under the World State, an eternally peaceful, stable global society in which goods and resources are plentiful (because the population is permanently limited to no more than two billion people) and everyone is happy."

        Yea, it's not actually a utopia, it's a dystopia. If you had read a little further from the Wikipedia plot description, you would have seen the great cost to people for this Brave New World:

        Natural reproduction has been done away with and children are created, 'decanted' and raised in Hatcheries and Conditioning Centres, where they are divided into five castes (which are further split into 'Plus' and 'Minus' members) and designed to fulfill predetermined positions within the social and economic strata of t

        • by Applekid (993327) on Monday June 17, 2013 @04:24PM (#44033869)

          The difference between 1984 and Brave New World is dystopia by oppression versus dystopia by apathy.

          The true dystopian future is going to wind up being a little of both. Oppressive regimes that are impossible to overthrow, and apathy by those under their thumbs to actually do anything about it because they're living comfortable lives as long as they keep their heads down and try not to shake the tree too hard.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        And I quote: "The vast majority of the population is unified under the World State, an eternally peaceful, stable global society in which goods and resources are plentiful (because the population is permanently limited to no more than two billion people) and everyone is happy."

        Of course, FTL travel is more plausible than that any of that is achievable, even if it were desirable.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It is funny that you mention Brave New World. That is widely regarded as a classic of Western Literature. Yet A similar author who had much the same conclusion as Aldus Huxely(sp) is widely regarded as a lunatic and locked in jail now. Just reading his manifesto is likely to cause you to be looked at askance and called a cook. His name was Ted Kaczynski. Every single Newspaper (thought control organization) called his manifesto an incoherent work of a lunatic. Disregarding the fact he killed a few peo

    • by alexo (9335)

      These guys are really trying hard to make sure 1984 and Brave New World actually come true.

      1984 is already here.

      Once they have it, they'll misuse it, and tell you it's for your own good.

      They already have it, they already misuse it, and they already tell you it's for your own good.

      Freedom has gone out of fashion, and now we're stuck with the surveillance society.

      Freedom was never in fashion, it was just a good marketing slogan, like "don't be evil".

  • by Aryden (1872756)
    Though I do not agree with law enforcement being able to access everyone's information for identification purposes, I do think that this is not very different from being pulled in for a line up other than the fact that with a line up, you are at least aware of what's happening.
  • In Capitalist U$A (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:15PM (#44032591)

    the Government watches you.

  • This does not stop facial recognition but it does make it work less accurately. Major changes in beard style or glasses will not help a facial recognition systems accuracy.

    • This does not stop facial recognition but it does make it work less accurately. Major changes in beard style or glasses will not help a facial recognition systems accuracy.

      Yes, they will. As weaknesses in facial recognition systems get discovered, they will get patched. Soon it won't matter if you grow or shave your facial hair, whether you dye or bleach your skin, or whatever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705)

        Yes, they will. As weaknesses in facial recognition systems get discovered, they will get patched. Soon it won't matter if you grow or shave your facial hair, whether you dye or bleach your skin, or whatever.

        And, really, at this rate they'd just make it illegal for you to significantly alter your appearance without registering with the authorities.

        Once the State decides it's they're right to watch everything you do, attempting to dodge that must clearly be a sign of bad intent. Clearly an honest person wou

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:24PM (#44032701)

    Ignoring the legal ramifications of this (for now)...

    Facial Recognition is neat, I'll give it that. BUT it's not as accurate as people think. Against a small sample set (hundreds) OR with very solid source pics (both A and B) it's decent. But between poor surveillance images and the "margin of error" settings on the software you can end up with lots of false positives.

    Add that to the huge DMV databases across the country, you're going to get a LOT of false positives. Sometimes too much data is worse than too little. Imagine showing all 30 matches of VERY VERY similar people to a witness who's already nervous enough. I know the cops already show them handfuls of similar pics: but the "similar" pics might be "chubby white-skinned guy" and not "chubby white-skinned guys that looks REALLY REALLY REALLY similar"

    All of this noise is going to cause a headache. Even just adjoining states, you're going to have close enough hits. So what, you're going to have to investigate them? If you're basing off a picture you can't just say "Well he's 30miles away so let's consider him but NOT that guy who's 40miles away"

    Sure you might say "Well we'll factor criminal background into this." But if you're basing on a criminal record, then well, why not just use the mug shots?

    • by icebike (68054)

      This.
      The false positive rate simply makes FR useless for identifying any Joe Random from a street scene.
      You'd be surprised how often FR will match males to females and totally different looking people who happen to have similar measurements.

      However, if a security cam at a bank robbery can facially match 300 different people to the crook, one of whom is Joe Random, and Joe has a record of robbery, you can be fairly certain Joe floats to the top of the list of people of interest.

      It would be telling if every p

    • Signal-to-noise issues have their own specialists that handle that sort of thing. Its a pretty obvious need in the Information Age.
    • by cdrudge (68377)

      What happens when they do a few simple joins and find all drivers that match some profile that are also associated with cars that also happened to be scanned by speed/red light/traffic cameras in the area of some crime?

    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Monday June 17, 2013 @04:17PM (#44033781) Homepage Journal

      I remember watching a program about the police work done after the Boston Marathon bombing. They took the photographs produced by the FBI and ran them against facial recognition.

      After a LOT of tweaking, they were able to get the actual photo of the actual bomber into the top 20 matches! By which I mean it was the 20th highest match out of a database of "samples" and not, say, all license photos. I think the entire sample size was in the thousands, so - not exactly a great example of facial recognition helping. And this was after they caught him, and after a lot of tweaking to try and "enhance" the photo they had off surveillance cameras.

      If anyone ever wanted a great example of photo recognition not helping catch people or why PRISM is entirely useless, the Boston Marathon bombing is a perfect example. Not only did photo recognition not help catch them, not only did having a giant database of phone calls not help, not only did declaring martial law and shutting down an entire metro area not help, having a notice from Russia saying "this man is a radicalized Islamic terrorist" didn't help!

      • If anyone ever wanted a great example of photo recognition not helping catch people or why PRISM is entirely useless, the Boston Marathon bombing is a perfect example.

        Or they let it happen so they could justify obtaining even more power to instititutionalize their reign.

    • by davecb (6526)
      It also suffers from the birthday paradox: if you're looking for a lot of people (ie, N terrorists) in a large database (ie, M drivers licences), the probability of a false positive is multiplied by a factor of roughly N factorial, where N is the number of terrorists you're looking for. This caused the German Federal Security folks and Siemens to cancel an effort to use facial recognition in airports.
  • You don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:24PM (#44032703)
    Privacy? No, privacy is only for the government.
  • by icebike (68054) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:26PM (#44032727)

    The state of the art in Facial Recognition software has a long way to go.
    At best it can be used to give the police a list of people to look at, and certainly not a list of people to arrest.

    There is a lot of false positives. I've tried several off the shelf packages, as well as the FR built into Google's Picasa. (surprisingly good).
    Most of these have significant problems of false positives. My sisters look nothing alike, yet two of the commercial products and
    Picasa always confuse them, presumably based on facial measurement.

    A great deal of the false positives would be weeded out by the police just looking at the pictures, People are so much better at this than
    machines.

    The only abuse of this I can see is if you are summoned to appear or hauled in kicking and screaming based ONLY on some
    automated FR software match. But FR will probably NEVER achieve the reliability standard of a fingerprint, let alone DNA.

    So I feel confident that such pictorial drag-netting wouldn't be allowed by the courts. *Cough*. Sure I do.

    • by cffrost (885375)

      [Facial recognition software] will probably NEVER achieve the reliability standard of a fingerprint, let alone DNA.

      Fingerprint matching has no "reliability standard" to speak of, and is likely far less reliable than you may have been led to believe.

      Please see PBS's Frontline: The Real CSI for an overview of some of the terrible shit that happened (and is still happening) thanks for forensic "science" — to quote from Twelve Monkeys, "Science ain't an exact science with these clowns." I've provided links to the aforementioned documentary below:

      https://video.pbs.org/video/2223977258 [pbs.org]
      http://kickass.to/pbs-frontline-the [kickass.to]

      • by icebike (68054)

        [Facial recognition software] will probably NEVER achieve the reliability standard of a fingerprint, let alone DNA.

        Fingerprint matching has no "reliability standard" to speak of, and is likely far less reliable than you may have been led to believe.

        Actually, its far more reliable than you have been led to believe.

        Its just that the numbering system was only intended to allow a computer sort of likely
        candidates for manual inspection, but because manual inspection takes some time
        and training, some jurisdictions will go just by the numeric analysis, and further
        they will accept fewer and fewer actual features to match, especially when partial
        prints are all they have.

        Defense lawyers delight in bringing in their own fingerprint expert and showing up
        the state

        • by cffrost (885375)

          [Facial recognition software] will probably NEVER achieve the reliability standard of a fingerprint, let alone DNA.

          Fingerprint matching has no "reliability standard" to speak of, and is likely far less reliable than you may have been led to believe.

          Actually, its far more reliable than you have been led to believe.

          Whereas I gave you the benefit of the doubt, (and provided a source to support my position,) you've somehow definitively assessed the reliability of fingerprinting, and conclusively determined that I've been misled. As such, I provide the following sources discussing the poor reliability of fingerprinting (in chronological order, 2001-2013) so that others can steer clear and avoid being misled like I was:

          Fingerprinting's Reliability Draws Growing Court Challenges [nytimes.com]
          Will Fingerprinting Stand Up in Court? [nytimes.com]
          Investi [newscientist.com]

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:34PM (#44032841)
    The IRS targeting tea party organizations for scrutiny proves that abuse happens today and will continue to happen as long as law enforcement has access to private personal information. Think how many times in your life someone has been exonerated after spending years in jail for crimes they didn't commit. It is an outright lie for anyone to say personal private information will not be abused. It is being abused now and that will continue. No matter what the President says, your information is not safe or secure and you can easily become a completely innocent target.
    • by PracticalM (1089001) on Monday June 17, 2013 @03:36PM (#44033399)

      Except that the IRS targeting of tea party organization was also accompanied by targeting of organizations with Progressive in their name. And more left organizations were actually denied tax exempt status (which isn't hard because no tea party organizations were denied tax exempt status). And the IRS guy in charge was a Bush appointee. And Bush era IRS targeted liberal churches that dared to mention there was an election happening at the same time that conservative churches were beating the drums to elect Bush. And really the tragedy is that we let any groups that are not 100% dedicated to social welfare claim tax exempt status at all and/or hide their donors.

      Love how conservatives continually claim to be persecuted and the facts tend to disagree.

      • by spacepimp (664856)
        The this isn't some partisan issue of libs versus Dems. This is an example of the abuses that occur already within the surveillance state we are living in. You don't have to be liberal or democrat to not approve of whats going on. It was wrong during the Bush Era and it's wrong now. If you can't see that then you are a big part of the problem.
    • The IRS? Yes, and the FBI, the CIA, the ATF, the DEA, the NSA... the list goes on and on, and goes to prove that wherever there is power concentrated, no matter how small, it WILL be abused. Without oversight from a completely different branch of government, and without harsh penalties for any and all violations, these agencies have, and will continue to engage in:

      Harassment
      Domestic spying
      Various types of espionage
      Assassination
      Illegal drug dealing
      Illegal gun dealing
      Torture
      Murder of citizens in the
  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Monday June 17, 2013 @03:01PM (#44033089)

    Amazing how people seem to think that any of this is new and the outrage this is causing.

    This, and other technology being recently being "outed" has been around since the early-mid 2000's. How do I know? I wrote a lot of it while working for a provider of software for public safety and law enforcement. It isn't secret - you can go to their website and read the features the software provides. Or, you can read any of the LE magazines out there to learn what the various public safety software providers are, in fact, providing to police departments across the country.

    Facial recognition was still in its early evolution when we looked at it back in, I believe, 2005-2007. When I left in 2009, we still had not integrated facial recognition into our desktop software (and, we we a leading provider) - let alone mobile software - it just wasn't ready. Other vendors did provide OCR to work with cameras that could read a license plate into software that would then look up the license plate in NCIC and the local DMV. Some states allowed more judicious use when querying the DMV. But, access to NCIC and the criminal justice information systems required probable cause to conduct a search. Each query was logged and, if questioned, the person making the request better have had a valid reason to have conducted the search. A case in point - it is well known that Phila. Traffic and Parking Authority uses OCR scanning to looking up scofflaws by scanning the plates of parked vehicles. Are they hitting the DMV or just a parking violation database managed by the city? That, I am not sure.

    However, whenever someone is/was arrested and booked, their images, prints, tattoo information, etc, was placed into our database - instantly searchable by keyword for the generation of a line up. Most photos weren't suitable for facial recognition back then. Traffic analysis is not new either. Our case management system would allow associations to be derived based on information reported in an incident report or booking report. By following the trail, other potential suspects could be quickly discovered. I can see how this capability could be used with phone call meta-data. Was it done? Maybe. But, if it did, it required a warrant.

    As for facial recognition - it's possible that today's software is ready to process DMV photos. Some states were requiring that images pass certain checks (via software) before being allowed to be submitted into the system But, I am not sure they can, legally, request those images for retention on their local systems. If it's legal now (at least in PA), I would be highly surprised.

    Perhaps, someone currently working in the field, could clarify the current state regarding access to NCIC, DMV and similar systems?

  • States such the People's Republic of Massachusetts wants to put transponders in every car, ostensibly so they can tax you on the actual miles driven in the state, as if this was not bad enough, but you just know that it will be used against political enemies. There are microphones in most cities already...
  • Anyone here with a scuba, or pilots license? Does it have your address on it???
  • They wouldn't need that unreliable facial recognition software if the state legislatures required a 2D bar code be tattooed on everyone's face at birth.

    Imagine how much effort that would save.

  • Relevant...

    https://www.nlets.org/mission-vision

    Then read this...

    http://psc.apcointl.org/2010/08/26/nlets-prism-transactions/

    • by gmezero (4448)

      Wonder if there is a relationship between this prism and the one in the news recently.

  • And is anyone surprised by this? I don't think so. It was the US that insisted on all passports having biometric information for face recognition already on everyones passport.

    Passport. You know? that thing you need to travel into countries other than Canada. Yes there ARE other countries somewhere out there. But I guess as most US citizens won't need one, that's the reason why they're mining driver's licencse photo databases.

    Do those photos also be ready for biometric recognition as the ones in the passpor

  • Seattle, Washington and Washington, District of Columbia were the two cities with live tests of Trapwire.

    Trapwire of course relies on facial recognition and other recognition. Seattle, Washington is in the same State of Washington that is mentioned in the posting title as being data-mined for faces from drivers' licenses and IDs.
  • Why not require a warrant to search the databases? I'm skeptical that this tool is going to be all that useful, but of course LE will always trot out success stories, like in the article. Maybe they'll solve an extra 10 crimes per year, out of how many? It's probably insignificant, but people will still call for its use because it solved one murder last year. So fine, allow the databases to searched if a judge issues a warrant. If they're going to use this on something serious like a major felony, then gett
    • by Rick Zeman (15628)

      Why not require a warrant to search the databases? I'm skeptical that this tool is going to be all that useful, but of course LE will always trot out success stories, like in the article. Maybe they'll solve an extra 10 crimes per year, out of how many? It's probably insignificant, but people will still call for its use because it solved one murder last year. So fine, allow the databases to searched if a judge issues a warrant. If they're going to use this on something serious like a major felony, then getting a warrant should be no big deal. At least it would stop the sort of harassment described in the article where a LEO, using his infinitely wise discretion, decides that someone "looks suspicious", and "asks" to take his picture.

      Dude, with cameras springing up in every city the LEO won't even need to ask the citizen! "Hey Billy, run the face on camera J422 from 1431 hours for me. Thanks, bud!"

      • That's another problem, but it makes it even worse if they can, at any LEO's "discretion", match it to a photo database w/ names. In fact I'm surprised the issue you mention about those endless cameras in public hasn't been mentioned in this discussion. It's not just random stops of "suspicious" people. They don't even have to stop you!
    • by spacepimp (664856)
      Abuses occur now with the NSA and many other intelligence departments. The idea that this can only be used for problem X under circumstance Y is that people will always justify its use to serve their purpose. Surveillance creep is what they should call it.

Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.

Working...