An anonymous reader writes: According to an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) investigation, the FBI is working to create software with government researchers that will allow law enforcement to sort and identify people based off their tattoos. The advanced tattoo recognition technology aims to determine "affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology" and decipher tattoos that "contain intelligence, messages, meaning and motivation." Such research first originated at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2014, and used a database of prisoner's tattoos. The technology developed by NIST would "map connections between people with similarly themed tattoos or make inferences about people from their tattoos," the EFF reports. What some may view as even more unnerving is that the EFF investigation claims the researchers disregarded basic ethical government research standards, especially those relating specifically to prisoners. The obtained documents reveal NIST researchers sought permission from supervisors only after they had conducted their initial research. The EFF argues that a database that sorts citizens based on their tattoos may or may not reflect their religious or political beliefs, social affiliations, or interests.