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FBI Plans Nationwide Face-Recognition Trials In 2012 102

hessian writes with this excerpt: "The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov. The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion overhaul of the FBI's existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings."
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FBI Plans Nationwide Face-Recognition Trials In 2012

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  • by Anonymous Coward


  • Didn't .. (Score:5, Informative)

    by deimios666 ( 1040904 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @08:38AM (#37647190)
    FaceBook Inc.already have that? Ah you mean the other FBI...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They already have photos of your face from your driving license and passport applications.

    • The government and anyone with money can effective ignore the right to privacy, technology gives lots of tools to simply collect lots of data on anyone. Next up, is the ability of common people to use technology to end the privacy and secrecy of the authorities. The privacy laws remain the same, but every day it becomes less possible to enforce any of it.

      • by Hoskald ( 125486 )

        There is no Right to Privacy in the US Constitution. The 4th Amendment applies to unwarranted search and seizure, not to a general right to privacy. There is, however a tradition of privacy in the US that seems to be protected by case law.
        Good Morning, Big Brother, Comrade!

        • The constitution does not grant rights to the people. It "grants" powers to the government. Any rights enumerated are there to ensure that powers granted are never assumed to supersede those rights. They were not intended to be a full enumeration of the rights of the people, and indeed, rights not specifically protected may have at the time been considered so obvious and fundamental that there was no need to mention....

    • by Extremus ( 1043274 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:36AM (#37648094)

      Ant it works as in this Dilbert strip? http://www.dilbert.com/2010-12-17/ [dilbert.com]

    • Speaking of Facebook.....

      I recently took a trip to DC, did the tourist thing. Got a bunch of pictures of my daughter and wife at the Lincoln Memorial standing next to Abe himself.

      Got home, and uploaded a couple of the photos to my account. Get this.. the auto tagger kicks in, and suggests one of my buddies as the _face of Lincoln_ . I kid you not /. The software zoned in on the statue and thought it was close enough to be my buddy.

      He was thrilled, But he also said the same thing you're all thinking reading

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @08:47AM (#37647212)

    ...investment in plastic surgery practices has soared!

    • You say that in jest, but one wonders how much this facial recognition stuff will be affected by if I for example grow a beard, or shave my beard, or break my nose. Does anyone have any insight into this one?

      • Not much. The software works by measuring ratios to facial markers, like eyes, ears, nose, chin and mouth. Facial hair does not cover much of this. A medical mask, however...
        • I wonder about that. I'm busy working on a facial recognition project at the moment, I'm using OpenCV, and I'm doing exactly that, using ratios between facial features. My algorithm is very very simple, but the research I've done suggests that there are much more complex algorithms available. Also, with my hobbyist grade software, changes in lighting and facial position greatly affect the outcomes of the scan. So I still have my doubts as to the absolute usefulness of the system.

          Not that I suspect it wo

    • by skine ( 1524819 )

      If only we could all be Humphrey Bogart after surgery.

      • If only we could all be Humphrey Bogart after surgery.

        Humphrey Bogart had surgery?

        • by skine ( 1524819 )

          Apparently you haven't seen Dark Passage.

          • Apparently you haven't seen Dark Passage.

            Correct twice: I haven't seen Dark Passage, and I missed the plastic surgery.

            • by skine ( 1524819 )

              The first 20 or so minutes of Dark Passage are shot from the first person perspective of a man who has escaped from prison.

              After that, the man is shown in bandages, and later on with the bandages removed.

              He is played by Bogart.

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      Doesn't facial recognition software act by measuring depth at certain points of the face? So if you were to get flesh-colored eyebrow rings, lip rings, etc. it would probably throw the technology off...

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @08:50AM (#37647224)
    Like how our society has turned into a culture of unrestrained power? [salon.com] Yeah, me either.
    • P.S. We can pretty much chalk the budget approval for this project up to one movement: occupywallst.org [occupywallst.org]
      • P.S. We can pretty much chalk the budget approval for this project up to one movement: occupywallst.org

        Now that's just stupid. You don't believe the truck bombing in Time Square and along the MLK day parade route out West was enough?

        So, the monolithic, powerful government took one look at the kids in the Occupy Wall Street movement who already all have facebook and twitter profiles in their real names along with multiple photographs in their profiles (half of which are photos of them looking straight into

        • Now that's just stupid. You don't believe the truck bombing in Time Square and along the MLK day parade route out West was enough?

          "Was enough" for what - unrestrained power? No, sorry your fearmongering has lost it's effect - it is not enough. Plus you must mean the FBI's own terrorist plots [salon.com] (that they repeatedly and miraculously thwart successfully [salon.com]). To clarify - (because I admit it does defy belief for normal rational thinking people):

          "The FBI has received substantial criticism over the past decade — much of it valid — but nobody can deny its record of excellence in thwarting its own Terrorist plots. Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out — only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI. "

          Stupid is as stupid does.

          • "Was enough" for what - unrestrained power?

            No no no. I'm not saying there is any reason for the unrestrained power of the corporatist government.

            I'm just saying they weren't waiting for the OWS demonstrations to put it in the budget.

            Ever since Ralph Nader first suggested that consumers actually have some power and don't have to just buy everything that's shoved down our throats, the people who have bought the government have been looking for a way to take people out of the equation. Some might say it star

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's all you need to know.

      Did I just imply that this entire "initiative" is nothing but a smokescreen for raking more cash through the hands of the elite who control the business of government?

      You're god damn right I did.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Burqahs gonna be fashionable in 2012.

    • Burqahs gonna be fashionable in 2012.

      And what do you bet that latex masks are outlawed?

      • Burqahs gonna be fashionable in 2012.

        And what do you bet that latex masks are outlawed?

        Along with latex Burqahs.

  • had a lot of problems recognizing John Malkovich who was trying to assasinate Obama because he was wearing a clever disguise. This technology could've helped Clint.
  • ...1984.
  • How do you activate a nationwide search in only select states?
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @09:23AM (#37647322) Homepage Journal

    Many states have already had this internally, so its logical to extend this nationwide since we don't have "hard" borders between states, from a technology standpoint. Next logical step will be linking up all the nations street corner and red light cameras with this database as a pre-emptive measure to find people.

    Not that i agree with any of this morally, but its logical in the pure technical sense.

    • by jovius ( 974690 )

      True. The logical objective for the law enforcement would be to have a complete access to all of the people in real time. The thing is that when your reputation/position is high enough you become a "trustworthy" citizen and a member of the club. The system can't reach it's objective because of this inherent feature. It paradoxically promotes lawlessness and law obedience at the same time and upkeeps divisions and inequality in the society.

      As long as the average human leadership types are somewhere close to

      • by jovius ( 974690 )

        We are colliding now with the control mechanisms of our own mind, which manifest themselves in the need to control. It's a relic from times when we had to fight for our survival. The mechanisms are needlessly defending themselves. This is a logical phase in the evolution of mind that is happening. Consumer EEG devices (like http://emotiv.com/ [emotiv.com]) are slowly coming to the market, which is one indicator of where we are heading.

        At the moment peaceful behaviour is forced, where as it should be the obvious way of b

    • Borders?
      Last time I checked some moron had the bright idea of tightening control over the border to the north (because those evil Canadians are such a dangerous bunch) while the one to the south is basically a revolving door in all but name.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know this usually evokes the usual sleuth of comments about big brother and 1984 that seem like isolated incidents or only something slightly worse. But hours ago didn't I just read about GPS in your phones to be mandatory in several years too? Oh don't concern yourself good citizen, this is for your safety, its an upgrade to the 911 system to better assist you in times of need!

    I just don't understand, why haven't you revolted yet? It seems every single day new laws or amendments to your great constitutio

    • It's the same as in every country: comfort is everything. As long as Americans have their Big Macs and cheap Ford F 150s, no one is going to complain in any way that makes a difference. Take those away and you'd have a mass uprising. But not before. Do you think The Powers That Be know that?
  • What we really need is an open source equivalent of this. Just create a database and some FOSS software, and then everybody can go scan their old high school yearbooks and suddenly Big Brother can't do anything you can't do.

    Databases owned by Government, Credit Bureaus, and Background Check companies are all coming whether you like it or not, and nobody is going to stop them.

    While we're at it go ahead and create a place for people to post stuff like "person ABCD-12345 was seen at GPS coords 12.23,12,34 at

  • They need this for when the Pre-Cogs start up, How else are they going to identify you when they come in to arrest you for that little embezzling you were considering.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @09:58AM (#37647520) Journal

    [Thomas E. Bush III, who helped develop NGI's system requirements when he served as assistant director of the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services division between 2005 and 2009, said] said, "We do have the capability to search against each other's systems," but added, "if you don't come to the attention of law enforcement you don't have anything to fear from these systems."

    I'm going to quote an old post [slashdot.org] from the "DMCA Abuse Widespread" [slashdot.org] article:

    Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying . They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

    It is inevitable that once the capabilities are present, they will be abused.
    The scale of the abuse is only limited by how much money the government is willing to spend on auditing and enforcement.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Innocent people have nothing to fear.

      However, it isn't you that gets to determine what makes you "innocent", no matter how right-thinking, patriotic and "law abiding" you are.

      Considering the current budget situation, I've got a better idea. Rather than waste time on expensive and unreliable technologies, let's just have the police lock us all up at sunset, give us armed escort to our jobs, schools and day cares, where we'll be under constant surveillance, then round us all up and escort us home at the end o

  • by harvey the nerd ( 582806 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @10:34AM (#37647712)
    I wonder how many people are going to get hurt or killed on a "mistaken identity", kinda, sorta doubles "Wanted" with trigger happy police.
    • We had this back in 2051 as well...

      Bot Kills Three in Accidental Shooting
      APR - Paris, France

      Yves-Pierre Adrien, Dominique Vittet, and Marie Philibert were heading home from
      a late night on the town when they were gunned down in the street by a military
      bot that mistakenly identified them as terrorists. Since the institution of
      martial law in Paris, bots have regularly patrolled those areas with a high
      level of criminal activity, armed with a visual database profiling thousands of
      wanted terrorists, thieves

  • by cheros ( 223479 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:02AM (#37647890)

    Programs like CSI are a mild source of amusement to me. These films run a partial fingerprint through an apparently flawless database and hey presto, a match that stands up in court. Fantastic. Also total nonsense.

    Especially a partial will throw up a whole LIST of possible matches, not one unique one. Even if you have two full fingers you get more than one, and that is a simple function of the resolution with which these biometrics are measured against the volume of data that is being matched - you WILL get duplicates.

    To illustrate: use hair color as a biometric. If your database has more than 5 people you're sure to end up with duplicates - there are only so many different colours.

    Here we are again heading for disaster. Apart from the fact that we'll again end up with a database that is just BEGGING to be abused by all and sundry (I'm starting to suspect that these days that abuse is actually a goal rather than an issue worth avoiding) we well again end up with lots of false positives. Face geometry isn't exactly perfect, as people using Farcebook must have already found out (yes, Facebook does a biometric scan on *every* picture you upload - not just the ones you tag), yet again it's sold as *the* solution. Even more astonishing is that they find buyers who still believe that (well, OK, maybe after a certain amount of "encouragement").

    The reason it works for the Israelis is simple: people have a much better ability to combine various sense mechanisms when properly trained. Trained people and dogs are in my opinion a *LOT* harder to fool than any machine, however expensive. What's more - it's actually cheaper.

    But hey - it was never about security anyway, was it?

    It's just another ploy to sell some useless kit..

  • Stopping Terror - A New Perspective on Freedom

    When one maniac can wipe out a city of twenty million with a microbe developed
    in his basement, a new approach to law enforcement becomes necessary. Every
    citizen of the world must be placed under surveillance. That means sky-cams
    at every intersection, computer-mediated analysis of every phone call, e-mail,
    and snail-mail, and a purely electronic economy in which every transaction is
    recorded and data-mined for suspicious activity.

    We are close to achieving this go

  • Why are so many people unhappy about this? I don't care if the government (federal, state, local) can get an accurate facial recognition / identification program going.

    This doesn't interfere with peoples ability to move and work as they want. This just means that if something bad happens (fire, riot, terrorist attack, traffic accident) that the people involved can be quickly identified. The obvious goal is not to prevent or prohibit, but to catch and convict criminals.

    This already exists. I fly once a month

  • And $3B later... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @12:02PM (#37648232)

    it will either work poorly, or will be scrapped.

    • it will either work poorly, or will be scrapped.

      Only $3B? Like most government programs, it will run horribly over-budget, so maybe $7B by the time they are done.
      Of course, it will also work properly around 50% of the time. For the 50% wrong side, you should prepare (mentally at least) to be nabbed for something you had nothing to do with.
      Yes, you, that wheelchair-bound old white guy in Florida, will be mobbed by the SWAT teams from 17 ThreeLetterAgencies at 4AM, and arrested at gunpoint if you aren't executed.... er...... mistakenly shot 84 times.

    • it will either work poorly, or will be scrapped.

      After Face Gate, people will wonder how the ACLU learned so much so damn fast.

  • it's Guy Fawkes! Again!

  • The last time they tried something like this it turned into a complete clusterfuck, e.g. revoking the drivers licenses of innocent people due to similar names and facial features.

    And their solution to the problem is to implement another project which could backfire even worse???

  • Hasn't that become a common technology already? They use it at the Montecito Casino at Las Vegas. And Jack uses it at the CTU all the time.

  • If it turns out anything like Virtual Case File http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Case_File [wikipedia.org] ,
    we have nothing to worry about. Actually half serious.

  • Michigan, Washington, Florida and North Carolina

Remember to say hello to your bank teller.