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FBI Bringing Biometric Photo Scanning To North Carolina, Via DMV 221

AHuxley writes "The FBI is getting fast new systems to look at local North Carolina license photos via the DMV. As the FBI is not authorized to collect and store the photos, they use the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. The system takes seconds to look at chin widths and nose sizes. The expanded technology used on millions of motorist could be rolled out across the USA. The FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System is also getting an upgrade to DNA records, 3-D facial imaging, palm prints and voice scans."
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FBI Bringing Biometric Photo Scanning To North Carolina, Via DMV

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:29AM (#29732435) Journal
    I think this was tried in Florida (as the article notes) back in 2002 but was killed instantly. It seems the trial run had focused on true positives meaning that they only reported numbers on when a person who was in the database was identified correctly. But overlooked the false positives, especially regarding someone who was not in the database being identified incorrectly as being in the database of criminals. Now, that ate up so much time it was instantly canceled. Of course, the FBI have figured out how to reduce this by combining many biometrics and it's now not okay to smile when you get your license picture taken where I live (planning for the future of biometrics, I suppose).

    Does anyone know what the rates are for false positives in this new system? How much time is wasted double checking results?
  • Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:31AM (#29732463)

    Ignoring the Big Brother/Police state implications for the moment : how well does this technology actually work? How accurate could the measurement of chin width/nose size be if you only have a single photo to make measurements from? With a large uncertainty in your data, I would imagine that there would be many collisions in the database.

    It doesn't seem likely that a camera could be set up somewhere in the state that could recognize any North Carolina resident with a driver's license. More likely than not, there would be thousands of hits for each face that walked by the camera, even if the subject wasn't in the database.


  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:56AM (#29732795) Journal

    Maybe having a national ID card, like most of the world, would help to avoid that.

    Maybe if the rest of the world valued liberty over convenience we'd be better off.

  • by Zantac69 ( 1331461 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @11:57AM (#29732817) Journal
    Donning my flame suit here - but what is the big deal here?

    Plenty of people are whinging on about Orwell...Big nauseum. Do people not understand the concept of what identification is and why we need it? Your drivers licence has become so much more than just a "drivers licence." Hell - when you buy beer they "ID" you. If the cops want to talk to you, often they do the same thing - check your ID so they know that you are who you say you are. What is the alternative? Everyone running around saying their name is "Nunya Bizness"?

    Personally, I am for a national ID system - and a national ID card. Verify social security numbers and biometric data (and even DNA) - and unless govt screws the pooch - identity theft is a thing of the past. Mistaken identity is a thing of the past. Illegal aliens using false ID is a thing of the past. Hell - sequence DNA from a string of serial rapes and crossreference - does not scare me in the least! And dont be so droll as to think that cops are going to be pinning crimes on John Q Innocent because he matches 80%...they are going to investigate just as they would any other crime. Are there going to be some false positives? Of course there will be - just like there is in standard police investigations.

    Some people really need to stay off the pipe - makes yah paranoid!
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:10PM (#29732969) Homepage Journal

    I'm glad Illinois kept my picture.

    The last time I renewed my license, I wouldn't have had to go down to the DMV thanks to a good driving record. However, I'd had eye surgery [] and for the first time in my life I had a chance to get the "corrective lenses" restriction removed. I was happy as hell when they took my picture, and also for the first time in my life the picture wasn't unflattering.

    Last April my wallet was stolen, and when I had it replaced they used the picture form the database. But it would be nice to have the option.

  • by KillerBob ( 217953 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:30PM (#29733227)

    Somebody's going to moderate you troll for what you've said, but I don't think that'd be entirely fair... I do, however, feel that I should address what you're saying...

    I don't want the government to have its grubby mitts on my DNA. I don't object to photo identification. I don't even object to having my fingerprints in a national database, even though fingerprints have been shown to be falsifiable, and aren't really all that reliable as a 100% certain way to identify somebody. I do, however, object to the idea of the government taking a sample of my DNA for a very simple reason: it's private. While it is a slippery slope argument, have you ever seen the movie Gattaca? I don't live in the US, but you need to prove your identity to do a great many things, including buying health insurance. If your DNA is part of that identity proof, how long is it going to be before companies start looking through the sequence for markers, and decide that your car insurance rate is going to be 3X as high as mine because you have a marker that indicates you might be slightly more predisposed to narcilepsy?

    Quite aside from that, DNA evidence as a means of identifying somebody has been called into question. The genome as it resides in you changes over time, developping small mutations with cell division. Beyond that, there's 3.2million base pairs in the human genome, which would take an inordinate amount of time to sequence completely. As a result, a DNA test usually only looks at certain indicators, rather than the whole sequence. The possibility for false positives resides in members of your own family... even "distant" relations have the possibility of generating a false positive on a search through a DNA database, with the probability increasing as you reduce the number of comparison points that they store. When you're considering a database with hundreds of millions of data points, with the potential for billions if it's expanded to a global scale, you're going to run into a feasibility issue: if you want to store that many records, you either spend billions of dollars developping and maintaining a computer system that's capable of storing and searching through that many records (and allowing fudging in the search to account for mutations due to aging), or you start making decisions as to which search points to store, and which to drop.

    And in response to your point:

    And dont be so droll as to think that cops are going to be pinning crimes on John Q Innocent because he matches 80%...they are going to investigate just as they would any other crime. Are there going to be some false positives? Of course there will be - just like there is in standard police investigations.

    Have you ever heard of police tunnel vision? We've got a match from the DNA database. Sure it's only 80%, but clearly it must be them! The police have been known on many many occasions to ignore evidence that proves the innocence of their suspect because they've decided that the suspect must be guilty. Often, it's only come to light after the suspect has been convicted, and sometimes it's not until after that wrongly accused suspect has been executed. (one such case is actually why capital punishment is illegal in Canada)

    So no. You're not going to get your hands on my DNA for national identification. There's other ways to ID me, thanks.

  • Much of the world that is having the hardest time with the "War" on unlicensed drugs is having it because the USA is insisting upon it. Meanwhile the USA is one of the world's largest producers and consumers (import and export, consumption and production, and trafficking as well) of illegal drugs. It's solely about profit; even prisons are often for-profit now, which anyone should be able to see is a form of slavery that can only be self-perpetuating in a capitalist oligarchy.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:52PM (#29733481) Journal

    Correlation != causation. In any case, if your argument is "We suck, but you suck more" then I don't think this is going to be a particularly productive dialog :)

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:54PM (#29733525) Journal

    >>>Any interaction with police not involving a motor vehicle should involve primarily these phrases: "Am I being detained?" "Am I free to go?"

    I think even that's too much. I prefer to give my name, my address (if asked), and then silence. I might say something like "According to my Miranda Rights and the 5th Amendment I'm not required to answer," but most times I just keep silent.

    I've seen too many videos where people repeat "Am I detained" and "Am I free to go" as if they are having a verbal fight with the officer. No good can come of that. It merely escalates the tension of the encounter, whereas silence tends to be calming and de-escalate.

  • by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @12:58PM (#29733591) Homepage Journal

    You can't ignore them, nobody can.

    I lived the past 9 years without TV — watching it only in gym sometimes. Yes, we do have a TV-set — but no cable (our Internet comes via DSL). I think, I've ignored Timewarner/Comcast/whoever it is, whom the government gave my part of town as a monopoly.

    The GP's point is valid — ignoring corporations is far easier, than the government.

    The government's only acceptable role is ensuring, various corporations compete in providing a service or making goods, rather than collude. When the government attempts to provide the same service themselves (having declared the oxymoronic "market failure"), you get the worst of both worlds — government's inefficiency and a monopoly's arrogance.

    I do hope, we don't get to experience this ourselves again in health care. Public schools, USPS, and highways are enough...

    And the worst that can happen is when corporations and the government get together.

    Yes, that's called Fascism. Some people ascribe this to Obama administration, as it aims to take over corporations. Calling him "Hitler" over this misses the point, though, (and triggers Godwin's Law) — Nazism is an aberration of Fascism and Obama does not deserve the mustaches printed on his portraits (although they do make me glee, because Bush deserved it even less []).

    Things sucked in Mussolini's Italy and in Franco's Spain, without the death camps. One need not be genocidal to destroy economy...

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM