The US Federal Investigation Bureau has launched a facial recognition system that it says will eventually replace the existing system for identifying individuals based on their fingerprints.
We probably should have been more worried about this when it first popped up in 2012.
The "Next Generation Identification" system as it's called can search the FBI's database of photos and recognize users based on their facial features, according to the Bureau.
The FBI's $1 billion (about £772m, AU$1.1b) facial recognition system has reportedly been in development for over three years, though in its current state its accuracy is less than ideal.
Well, that could be a problem
Back when we first heard about the NGI system it was said to be in development to help the FBI identify perps in crowds, but now it's much more.
One feature, called "Rap Back," sends the Bureau "status notifications" when a person in a "position of trust," like a teacher, is caught committing a crime.
Another is the Interstate Photo System, which lets law enforcement search for photos "associated with criminal identities." The FBI calls these advancements a "significant step forward for the criminal justice community."
Here's the rub, though: although the NGI system is "fully operational," its current accuracy is limited to returning the correct person in the top 50 results 85% of the time if that person's face is in the database to begin with.
And there's the question of where the system gets its images from; mugshots is one thing, but will it take photos from job applications? Drivers' licenses? Video games (Like Sony's The Playroom, pictured above)? What about Facebook?
Here's the bottom line: when the government is using tech that even Google has rejected due to privacy concerns, you know we might be in trouble.
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