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FBI Facial Recognition Database Is Inaccurate

About 50% of adult Americans’ photos are stored in facial recognition databases used by the FBI, without their knowledge or consent. The agency uses these databases in the hunt for suspected criminals, although roughly 4/5 pictures in the FBI’s network are non-criminal entries, like photos from driver’s licenses and passports. However, the algorithms used to identify matches fail about 15% of the time. Black people are more likely to misidentify than white people.
These facts were revealed at the House oversight committee hearing, where the FBI was criticized and called for stricter regulation of facial recognition technology as it enters law enforcement and business.

While facial recognition technology is meant to protect people, their property, and the nation in general – for example, protect financial transactions and prevent fraud or identity theft, – it can also be used by bad actors to harass or stalk people. Besides, there are concerns over the rise of real-time face recognition technology that allows surveillance and body cameras to scan the faces of people walking down the street.

Thus, the core problem is that such emerging technology is not controlled by any federal law and is not limited by any court decision. In other words, the technology is not under control.

It must be said that the FBI first launched its biometric database called Next Generation Identification 7 years ago, adding more capabilities to the old fingerprint database – including facial recognition. However, the FBI didn’t inform the public about its newfound capabilities for 5 years.

Moreover, while the collection of fingerprints and DNA following an arrest is a common thing, pictures of innocent civilians are also being collected proactively, even though they are not always properly matched.



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