Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Electronic Frontier Foundation Government Software Privacy Security Social Networks Politics Technology

FBI Developing Software To Track, Sort People By Their Tattoos ( 125

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FBI Developing Software To Track, Sort People By Their Tattoos

Comments Filter:
  • late to the party (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @08:42PM (#52246459)
    identifying marks is old school
    • by Onuma ( 947856 )
      This is true, even at a technological level.

      My buddy had a company in the 2000s which specialized, in part, in this type of tracking. If you recall a story from 2008 when ~29000 or so sex offenders' accounts were banned from MySpace (my, how times have changed), resulting in a number of arrests, his technology helped.
    • I know that State and Feds have catalogued tattoos for decades, they have been used inside the Fed Corrections dept, states too, for tracking gang affiliations. I know for sure that computers have been used with , primitive as it may be, to identify and associate any/all people with certain tattoos with the most aggressive in jail gangs. Those gangs are not contained by the walls and have long been very well established in the communities all over the country. Sharing data has never been a strong point of a
  • by DivineKnight ( 3763507 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @08:46PM (#52246471)

    Finally a chance to put my fake tattoo system into production.

  • So I can just imprison myself? You can hang all your pretty labels on it. I'm all bent over waiting for you. Please hurry.
  • Fuck FBI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The advanced tattoo recognition technology aims to determine "affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology"

    Yeah, cuz that's any of their business.

  • Tattoos have become so common and trendy amongst generation X (and later) that it is almost less common to see someone with no tattoos at all. You can try to identify someone by the collection of tattoos they have (since the Pokemon mentality of "gotta catch 'em all" seems to apply to tattoos) but that gets iffy as you don't know where some are and some may be covered for any of a number of reasons. Even sorting isn't that useful; sure there are gang and prison tattoos but there is no shortage of people w
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Any girl with tattoos on her neck is a slut. Trust me. If you see a girl with a neck tattoo, you can get in her pants no problem.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Unless she's owned by a MSL gang.

      Then you'd be dead if you got into her pants.

  • "NOT SURE" (without the quotes) around my wrist. Yup.

    (no. not really. If / when I do get inked, it'll be the Warner Bros. and their sister Dot. And it won't be where an FBI camera can see it.)

  • by laurencetux ( 841046 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @09:34PM (#52246637)

    tats with UV ink (bonus if it requires certain bands within the UV range)

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @09:39PM (#52246659) Journal

    I sort people by their tattoos all the time. If you have a cute tramp stamp on your hip, like a butterfly or a unicorn, you go to the head of the line. If you've got "Born To Raise Hell" blazoned across your back, you go to the end of the line.

    If you have a tattoo of the face of any human, living or dead, anywhere on your body, please step out of line and walk into the sea, because no matter what you think, it doesn't look like them one bit. Instead, it looks like Cliff Howard (unless it's supposed to be a tattoo of Cliff Howard, in which case it looks like a smeared Bazooka Joe).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused. How can this possibly work when every tattoo is an artistic expression of the bearer's unique, individual personality and life story?

  • "One reason not to get a tattoo is that a tattoo is positive identification. No one should ever do anything to help the police, especially when you may be the object of their interest." - George Carlin
  • They did this on the TV show The Shield well over a decade ago. Wait until the people who came up with this find out about The Wire.

  • "Welcome Aboard"

    He did it to get over the "Murmansk Brushing Incident"

    If the FBI can see *that* particular tat... we're in deeper shit than we thought.

  • Distracting from the real story: facial recognition

  • ... I have a tattoo covering my entire body - of me, only taller. (Thanks Steven Wright)
  • I have three tattoos, but there's no way they're going to get pictures of them for their database without a warrant, two days of prep and the assistance of a proctologist. All three of them are 50cm "up."
  • It's a big gang.

    BTW, they want to see your junk, too.

  • Walk around like the guys in Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Trench coat, wide brimmed hat and a bandana. If enough people do it you're back to being relatively more anonymous.

    Better yet, someone make the police shrouds from A Scanner Darkly.

    Of course these ideas will only work until law "enforcement" come up with biomechanical movement analysis to figure out who you are based on how you move.
  • Isn't political ideology a protected class from discrimination? [] They wouldn't be allowed to formulate suspicion based upon religious practices would they? Idk... this scares me for some reason.

"Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain