FBI Announces Completion, Deployment Of Its Facial Recognition System

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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The Next Generation Identification (NGI) system — an advanced FBI facial recognition system that has been in the making for more than three years — has finally been completed according to a Monday announcement by the bureau.

One of the two new NGI system features includes the Interstate Photo System (IPS), which, according to the announcement, “will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities.”

The system has been the target of intense scrutiny by privacy and civil liberties advocates for lumping criminal mugshots in with profile pictures pulled from background checks and employment records, i.e., people that have not had said photographs taken in association with a crime.

According to The Verge, IPS is expected to accumulate some 52 million faces. Despite the system’s comprehensive database, NGI has already been described as ineffective — for every query the system returns 50 results, with a max 85 percent chance of matching a potential suspect.

The second new feature, known as “Rap Back,” gives organizations the option of receiving ongoing criminal activity notifications about “individuals holding positions of trust, such as school teachers.”

“Law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, and other criminal justice entities will also greatly improve their effectiveness by being advised of subsequent criminal activity of persons under investigation or supervision,” the agency said Monday.

The NGI system will eventually replace the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System “in addition to adding new services and capabilities.”

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