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Government Privacy

52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes "The EFF has been investigating the FBI's Next-Generation Identification (NGI) scheme, an enormous database of biometric information. It's based on the agency's fingerprint database, which already has 100 million records. But according to the documents EFF dug up, the NGI database will include 52 million images of people's faces by 2015. At least 4.3 million images will have been taken outside any sort of criminal context. 'Currently, if you apply for any type of job that requires fingerprinting or a background check, your prints are sent to and stored by the FBI in its civil print database. However, the FBI has never before collected a photograph along with those prints. This is changing with NGI. Now an employer could require you to provide a 'mug shot' photo along with your fingerprints. If that's the case, then the FBI will store both your face print and your fingerprints along with your biographic data.'"
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52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

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  • Let's see how they handle that, as I keep messing around with facial hair 8^{)>

    • Re:I grew a beard (Score:5, Informative)

      by BitterOak (537666) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:10PM (#46762155)

      Let's see how they handle that, as I keep messing around with facial hair 8^{)>

      Modern facial recognition seems to be immune to facial hair changes, as well as other simple attempts to fool it. It is based more on measurements of bone structure, and distances between certain facial features such as eyes, nose and mouth. Also, sophisticated AI software is used to make the system robust against changes to some of these features as well. Unless you wear a bag over your head, it's pretty hard to fool modern systems.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        So the cheek inserts that appear to change bone structure would work, but facial hair that partially obscures the mouth (preventing accurate readings of the mouth) would have no effect? I've been told the opposite before. So how will I know which is right?
      • No. It's not. The most effective and efficient forms map the face to a uniform shape, almost spherical shape, especially for 3D facial recognition. The resulting consistent transform is *edge* based, not 3d structure shaped. Anything that adds extra edges, or re-arranges them, like makeup that adds eyebrow like dark markings or makes the face strongly asymmetrical consuses the hell out of it.

      • Last time I renewed my drivers' licence they asked me to remove my glasses before taking the photo. I assume the reason for it is to help facilitate algorithmic facial recognition.

        I wonder how many databases this photo is in, who gets access to it, and for what reason.

      • by kmoser (1469707)
        Their facial recognition software is no match for my religiously-mandated Pastafarian collander mask.
  • and we are one step closer to a 1984 'Big Brother is watching' world....

    and active investigations only my ass -they will stockpile this for the rest of our lives and when they find some association 20 years from now they will backtrack all the way to all other associations NSA 'metadata' style with the same deniability.

    -I'm just sayin' -we're screwed
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      and we are one step closer to a 1984 'Big Brother is watching' world....

      and active investigations only my ass -they will stockpile this for the rest of our lives and when they find some association 20 years from now they will backtrack all the way to all other associations NSA 'metadata' style with the same deniability.

      -I'm just sayin' -we're screwed

      o Sunglasses
      o Facial Hair
      o Make-up
      o Big Floppy Hat

      These are your weapons, use them wisely.

      • by larwe (858929)
        Those won't work, there are acceptance standards for those photographs. No headgear (possible religious exemption), no tinted eyeglasses, etc etc. Also, how many women do you know with a full mustache and knee-length beard? (I realize the answer to this may be nonzero, but it's going to be small). When I went to renew my passport a few years ago [Australian], they had additional requirements "neutral expression, no smiling" and they were explicit about the fact that this was to improve facial recognition DB
        • by MrKaos (858439)

          When I went to renew my passport a few years ago [Australian], they had additional requirements "neutral expression, no smiling" and they were explicit about the fact that this was to improve facial recognition DB matching.

          Soon this will be the rule for walking around the street, great news for botox fans. No smiling, look straight ahead, head down, eyes down and enjoy your freedom.

          Have a nice day!

          • by larwe (858929)
            I'd love to argue with you... but I can't. Have a very pleasant and conformist day, citizen.
            • by MrKaos (858439)

              I'd love to argue with you... but I can't. Have a very pleasant and conformist day, citizen.

              Such a gathering would be illegal anyway and I would have to report you lest I would be liable for similar penalties. You also have a pleasant day citizen!

          • by imikem (767509)

            At first I read that as "BoSox" fans. That would probably work, too.

      • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:33PM (#46762305)

        o Sunglasses
        o Facial Hair
        o Make-up
        o Big Floppy Hat

        These are your weapons, use them wisely.

        You just described my mother in law out for an afternoon stroll.

      • You forgot the tinfoil hat...
    • and we are one step closer to a 1984 'Big Brother is watching' world....

      Or a jump...

      I bought a SAMSUNG UN32F6300AFXZA smart HDTV as a computer monitor.
      http://www.newegg.com/Product/... [newegg.com]

      While I haven't read the Xbox ToS and Privacy statements; I have read the ones for this HDTV, it's one hell of a data miner that claims it's jurisdiction in some city in South Korea.

      It can match the Xbox and Kinetic for intrusiveness and I'm sure surpass it.

      The difference is you must supply a webcam for the HDTV, this is used for gestures (no joke).

      With a built in WiFi, it will most likely be conn

      • by MrKaos (858439)

        and we are one step closer to a 1984 'Big Brother is watching' world....

        Or a jump...

        I bought a SAMSUNG UN32F6300AFXZA smart HDTV as a computer monitor.

        If you don't like what the product does, just don't buy them.

        • and we are one step closer to a 1984 'Big Brother is watching' world....

          Or a jump...

          I bought a SAMSUNG UN32F6300AFXZA smart HDTV as a computer monitor.

          If you don't like what the product does, just don't buy them.

          That wasn't a complaint. I bought exactly what I wanted (well it was to be 120 Hz) and it suits my needs perfectly, it's the features that you start getting into tracking. I don't use the any of the features, nor have I acquiring an account, and as long as I don't hook the lan into it (allow it's WiFi) I'll have no problems.

          I've read the ToS (there are two), and Privacy Policy I know what I can and can't do, and how to prevent the shout-outs.

          I posted about the HDTV to show that other people have the same sy

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      You can request your FBI file. If they have your picture, are they required to disclose as part of their response? You have to give your fingerprints to get your file, so asking for your file results in a file being made, if one didn't exist. So the FBI and State of Texas have my prints on file. Though nothing to associate the prints with, other than my name (no actions, no arrests or the like).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They should just steal Facebooks database.

  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @06:47PM (#46761963) Homepage Journal
    The camera goes 'click'
    You're in DB, like Rick [wikipedia.org]
    But we've got the trick
    To make your chin slick
    Burma Shave
  • Falsely accused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @06:57PM (#46762051)

    Just remember that the best defense against being falsely accused of a crime is to SHUT UP. Exercise your right to remain silent or in England and Canada reply no comment to every question. You do NOT want to waste your time doing battle with cops who couldn't care less if you are guilty or innocent. You are just a means to an end to them. They will elect whoever they think they can take down for the rap.

    • Re:Falsely accused (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jody Bruchon (3404363) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:24AM (#46765653)
      People also don't seem to remember that background checks don't catch high-risk people, particularly the ones that have never been caught or are risky due to behavior and attitude rather than past actions. They deny jobs to people who have strong incentives to walk the straight and narrow path while giving management a false sense of security about the big red unknowns. They way they are used assumes past transgressions (even if only a single one exists) are a guaranteed predictor of future actions, which would only be true if humans never, ever changed and learned and grew.

      The thief with a squeaky clean record is a bigger danger than the guy with one trial for larceny; "squeaky" looks like he's a model employee, while "tainted" faces much harsher punishment if convicted of another crime plus the destruction of the rebuilt life he's working on, which is hard enough because even renting a house in the middle of nowhere tends to require "background checks" that ultimately deny him basic needs such as housing. Inability to rebuild a stable life opens the door to commission of crime, in many cases just to survive. Sadly, America has a punishment and revenge fetish, and until that changes there will be nothing done to solve these problems.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The problem is that if they do prosecute you in the UK the failure to mention when questioned anything you later rely on in court can harm you defence. It is assumed you making it up later if you didn't mention it when questioned. Maybe you could convince a jury you just didn't want to talk to the police, because they are well known for being corrupt scumbags, but it's one hell of a risk.

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:03PM (#46762097)

    One more reason not to be an employee. Work for yourself.

    Of course, they're going to get your photo in other ways. Facebook, blogs, etc.

    • The DMV.

      It is fun to pick on facebook though.

    • Risky though. Some people prefer a guaranteed small-but-steady wage to gambling their income.

      • by pubwvj (1045960)

        Ha! Working for someone else is far more of a risky gamble than working for myself. As an employee you have to satisfy your boss and the clients. As my own boss I only have to satisfy my clients.

        Odds of success:
        Boss% x Client% Client%

        You have a much higher risk as an employee.
        I'm taking less of a gamble as an independent.
        Pretty simple math.

  • Even worse... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:04PM (#46762105)

    A lot of people aren't aware that thanks to a law passed by California voters, if you are arrested for a felony (or a possible felony) in California, your DNA will be collected and held in a government database indefinitely

    Note that you only have to be arrested for what might be later possibly considered a felony for this to occur. You don't have to be convicted. Not even charged. Everyone who is arrested in California is arrested fairly and ultimately charged and convicted... right, Occupy Oakland people?

    This has even been challenged and upheld [latimes.com] by the 9th district.

    This law was passed by a 9/11-frightened public in 2004. Would such a law [wikipedia.org] pass now? I strongly doubt it.

    These records are never expunged.

    • by lonOtter (3587393)

      This law was passed by a 9/11-frightened public in 2004. Would such a law [wikipedia.org] pass now? I strongly doubt it.

      Maybe not, but it shows how easily manipulated people are. If people are so stupid (they are) that they're give away their privacy and freedoms for 'safety' after every bad event, then we're screwed.

  • Not sure what the big news is.... like we didn't already know this? They probably already have access to every state's DMV records, which include photographs for every person who has a driver's license or ID card. I would estimate that is maybe 90% of every adult citizen, alone.

    And yes, it upsets me.... far less than fingerprinting or DNA, however. The only privacy-friendly biometrics are those that we don't "leave" all over the place, and can't be collected or taken without our knowledge. That leaves

    • Not to mention access to the biometrics and photo in every US passport, images of every individual crossing the immigration line at an airport, and a fingerprint or prints for every non-US citizen crossing the line. That's all without trying too hard.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:13PM (#46762177)
    I'm not quite certain how from a population of 316M people you can obtain 52M photos when the point of collection are federal background checks. With roughly 200M persons of working age, that would mean that within the next two years roughly 1 out of 4 people will be facing a work related federal security clearance check or having criminal charges filed against them. I'm not buying it. Either the 52M is bogus or they're collecting photos by other less savory mean.
  • That's a factor of 100 less than what's available in Facebook's and Google's databases separately.

  • I have *0* respect for a person who submits to photographs, fingerprints, credit checks or drug tests to get a job.

    If you don't have enough self-respect to not sell your identity for a job then you're not worth my time.
    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:27PM (#46762259)

      You may have the luxury of choosing between multiple job offers, but many people don't.

    • I have *0* respect for a person who submits to photographs, fingerprints, credit checks or drug tests to get a job.

      I have an FBI file, being cleared by them for a job I enjoyed and got lots of money doing it. Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad -Meat Loaf.
      The loss of your respect was comforted by the money being made.

      Was required to obtain a Q clearance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q... [wikipedia.org] before 1993, after that date there is no FBI involvement There was also only one type of Q clearance (the link mentions two); I was a Q clearance with assess to vital areas.

      On the bright side I now have a list of all the places I've lived, even

    • Please do not fly commercially, you clearly will not respect the authority of the pilots or the safety that zero blood alcohol/drug levels add to (http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/120.109). Don't consume anything that is mined in my part of the world, most (all) mining companies have zero tolerance for drink/drugs and random testing for same... even for office staff.

    • Some of us like to have money. These are not good economic times - most people can't be picky, they are lucky to get just one job offer.

    • I have *0* respect for a person who submits to photographs, fingerprints, credit checks or drug tests to get a job.

      I work for a modeling agency, you insensitive clod!

  • Does this database include the pics and fingerprints taken each time I enter the USA (as a EU-citizen)?

    • of course . think they will pass on an occasion to treat you like a criminal ?
      Welcome to the USA , where every visitor is a criminal and is being treated like one .
      The USA is not a great nation. It's a sick police state the likes we haven't seen since the Nazis .
      .

  • We need clear laws on what law enforcement and government agencies are allow to know about us, not how they gain that data. Do we want the government to be able to track everyone's motions. If not, then it shouldn't matter if they use cell phone data, face recognition, satellite photos, tracking implants, or invisible flying monkeys that follow people around, it shouldn't be legal.

    If we do want to allow the government to track out motions, then we should let them us the least expensive, most efficient techn

    • by markdavis (642305)

      The reality is that it doesn't matter WHAT the law says. If they obtain the data, they can and will do anything they want with it. I knew this long before the whole NSA "expose`".

      I am not saying we shouldn't make laws about it, or even try to enforce them, but I am saying that laws and enforcement are not enough. To some degree, the government (and businesses) simply should not have access to certain data in the first place because it is the ONLY way to prevent it from being used in an abusive way.

      • The law should limit what they can collect as well as what they can do with data they have. I don't see any alternative to laws to prevent the government from having access to data. They have the resources to get pretty much any data they want, certainly a non-expert will not be able to secure their data against the NSA.

      • by Spamalope (91802)
        Thus they'll have the pictures from drivers license photos. They'll make it mandatory for exercising your constitutionally guaranteed rights(* exclusions apply, complaints accepted in 'free speech' zones only) - so press passes, licenses of all types (esp. for guns) will require it.
    • You might think it won't happen to you but it only takes a few decades for things to go horribly horribly wrong (see German history...Nazi...) You might think your modern citizens are somehow wiser or smarter or more evolved-- well, maybe so (debatable) but the techniques used HAVE evolved.

      People escaped, people resisted, and underground networks were extremely important in winning WW2. Will such things even be possible in the future? If your nation has the system already active and in place, it is just

  • There are so many opportunities to take and retake your photos these days. Every time you come to a traffic light you stand a high chance of being photographed by traffic cameras. I bet that stores and banks provide footage, often done with some tax incentives. Your clothes have RFID tags from the time you bought them. Yes, it can be possible to change clothes or microwave them, but I am sure that there is some error correction going on once these systems have amassed redundant data. Also, there are oth
    • by Artifakt (700173)

      If writng style is really an identifiable characteristic, I would actually be doing you a favor by going Grammar Nazi on your last sentence. Those people who really learn enough of the manifold rules of proper English will form a group which will appear indivisible in attempts to isolate an actual individual, To stand out at all, such people will have to use words such as "eldritch", that are very, very rare, create complex compound sentences such as this one, or otherwise write unusually. People who write

  • Says it all . Keep being sheep , do not go out to Washington and protest , do not write your Congressman or Senator.
    Keep being sheep and build the walls of your own prison. You deserve it .

  • More people wearing head coverings like in Star Wars.

    Personally I'm thinking of exercising my rights, as a western white male, to dress as a muslim woman and don a Burqa. [wikipedia.org]

  • 1. driver's license photos. There are several states that are already incorporating them into their facial recognition systems. This will accelerate. It needs to stop. (See #2)
    2. the accuracy of these systems coupled with the increasing poor job police and investigatory (national security, etc) agencies are doing actually using these kinds of tools means that your chances of getting hit for a false positive is rapidly accelerating. It will wreck lives. It will get people (on both sides) killed.
    3. I have bee

  • According the wikipedia, the number of pictures being seen as the same with probability p is =sqrt(2d * ln(1/1-p)) If d is 52,000,000 and we use a 99% probability, then for each 21,884.6 pictures we get a false positive with a perfectly accurate matcher. And there are no perfect matchers.

    This is a variant of the birthday paradox, where it only takes 100 people to get a 99.9% chance of them having the same birthday, and a mere 23 people to get a 50% chance [wikipedia].

    The German Federal Security Service rejected facial matching years ago, for exactly this reason, when I was working for Siemens. The Americans did not, and supposedly stopped someone's grandma for being a (younger, male) terrorist.

    If they use this, expect a week or so of everyone's grandma being arrested (;-))

    --dave
    Mathematicians, please feel free to check me on the numbers: I suspect I'm rather low...

    • They not robots arrest, at least for now, and they have eyes to compare to the original photo.
      • by davecb (6526)
        The (supposed) grandma incident had the clerk acting robot-like and sending her for "random extra screening" and the screener, expecting an armed or bomb-carrying desparado, complaining that the clerk and/or computer was insane...
  • The last time I had to get my license renewed, I had to go to the DMV... After finally getting called to have my photo taken, I was asked to remove my glasses for my new picture. The first thing that crossed my mind of facial recognition.

    Anybody else experienced this?
  • Fuck the government
  • That is about 174 facebook accounts for 1 month. Unless they had a baby, then it is just one account one weekend.

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