FBI Plans To Have 52 Million Photos In Facial Recognition Database By 2015

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

I have highlighted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and it great work on this website on many occasions. The organization has been at the forefront of many privacy and civil liberties related issues, including the increasing use of drones by the U.S. government domestically, unconstitutional NSA spying, as well as a host of other issues.

The latest article from them that caught my attention was published a couple of days ago, and shines light on the disturbing push by the FBI to create an extensive facial recognition database, which will include criminal and non-criminal photos alike. The information received by the EFF via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demonstrates that the feds may have a mugshot database with up to 52 million photos by 2015.

The program is called Next Generation Identification (NGI), and the aspect of it that bothers the EFF most is the fact that non-criminal and criminal photos will be combined in the same database. So someone who has no criminal record can suddenly be flagged as a suspect just because an algorithm says so. What’s worst, research shows that the potential for false positive identification increases as the dataset increases.

To see if your state is participating, take a look at this map courtesy of the EFF.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 10.52.50 AM

More from the EFF:

New documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer.


EFF received these records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on Next Generation Identification (NGI)—the FBI’s massive biometric database that may hold records on as much as one third of the U.S. population. The facial recognition component of this database poses real threats to privacy for all Americans.


NGI builds on the FBI’s legacy fingerprint database—which already contains well over 100 million individual records—and has been designed to include multiple forms of biometric data, including palm prints and iris scans in addition to fingerprints and face recognition data. NGI combines all these forms of data in each individual’s file, linking them to personal and biographic data like name, home address, ID number, immigration status, age, race, etc. This immense database is shared with other federal agencies and with the approximately 18,000 tribal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States.


The records we received show that the face recognition component of NGI may include as many as 52 million face images by 2015.


The new records reveal that the database will be capable of processing 55,000 direct photo enrollments daily and of conducting tens of thousands of searches every day.


One of our biggest concerns about NGI has been the fact that it will include non-criminal as well as criminal face images. We now know that FBI projects that by 2015, the database will include 4.3 million images taken for non-criminal purposes.


Currently, if you apply for any type of job that requires fingerprinting or a background check, your prints are sent to and stored by the FBI in its civil print database. However, the FBI has never before collected a photograph along with those prints. This is changing with NGI. Now an employer could require you to provide a “mug shot” photo along with your fingerprints. If that’s the case, then the FBI will store both your face print and your fingerprints along with your biographic data.


In the past, the FBI has never linked the criminal and non-criminal fingerprint databases. This has meant that any search of the criminal print database (such as to identify a suspect or a latent print at a crime scene) would not touch the non-criminal database.  This will also change with NGI. Now every record—whether criminal or non—will have a “Universal Control Number” (UCN), and every search will be run against all records in the database. This means that even if you have never been arrested for a crime, if your employer requires you to submit a photo as part of your background check, your face image could be searched—and you could be implicated as a criminal suspect—just by virtue of having that image in the non-criminal file. 


It is unclear what happens when the “true candidate” does not exist in the gallery—does NGI still return possible matches? Could those people then be subject to criminal investigation for no other reason than that a computer thought their face was mathematically similar to a suspect’s? This doesn’t seem to matter much to the FBI—the Bureau notes that because “this is an investigative search and caveats will be prevalent on the return detailing that the [non-FBI] agency is responsible for determining the identity of the subject, there should be NO legal issues.”


The FBI failed to release records discussing whether MorphoTrust uses a standard (likely proprietary) algorithm for its face templates. If it does, it is quite possible that the face templates at each of these disparate agencies could be shared across agencies—raising again the issue that the photograph you thought you were taking just to get a passport or driver’s license is then searched every time the government is investigating a crime.


Finally, even though FBI claims that its ranked candidate list prevents the problem of false positives (someone being falsely identified), this is not the case. A system that only purports to provide the true candidate in the top 50 candidates 85 percent of the time will return a lot of images of the wrong people. We know from researchers that the risk of false positives increases as the size of the dataset increases—and, at 52 million images, the FBI’s face recognition is a very large dataset. This means that many people will be presented as suspects for crimes they didn’t commit. This is not how our system of justice was designed and should not be a system that Americans tacitly consent to move towards.

Full article here.

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Skateboarder's picture

Employer discrimination in 3.. 2.. 1...

ZerOhead's picture

They can check-out any time they like but they can never leave. Well not with their personal information anyway.

Besides... juries will never be told about things like "false positves". That plainly falls into the same category as conspiracy theories.

macholatte's picture


10 years ago I renewed my driver license by going to the DMV, paying a fee, getting a picture taken and waiting for the new license to be spit out of a machine. Last year the procedure was the same with one small exception..... the picture was facial recognition and the licens was mailed to me from from Washington DC.  So it was not a state that issued the license but the feds. Trash the tenth amendment.


Rusty Shorts's picture

..."i was researching the illuminati , which led me to transalchemy , transalchemy is defined as Transcontinental Transformation of humanity.. all of my research has led me to the same result transalchemy. in short they want god like intellect. on this website www.transalchemy.com... itgoes into this in detail, its pretty disturbing, i believe this is the elite and illuminati true goal and there end game.. these freaks want to merge man with machine, and they promise every member of this cult god like power. please read over this material on that site and do your own research. to me the mysteries of the illuminati , and the nwos endgame is solved they want to achieve godhood... ''as above so below'' ...

CH1's picture

EVERY FBI agent is part of a criminal organization. They are our enemies, not our friends.

JoeSexPack's picture

Facial ID software measures placement of eyes: far edge, near edge, height, etc.


Sunglasses defeat most every time.


Add visor to be sure.

markmotive's picture

RIP Michael Ruppert.

He dedicated his life to exposing sh!t like this!


gmrpeabody's picture

Phuk them phukkers...

Identify this...

ebworthen's picture

I'm wearing my sunglasses and fake mustace 24/7 now.

UselessEater's picture

Skin exposure is all they need. No wonder M Jackson wore a mask, sigh.

General Decline's picture

That's why they tell you not to smile for your drivers license photo. ALWAYS, smile for your drivers lisence photo.

old naughty's picture

52 million "Persons of Interest".

Can "Harold" save all?

swmnguy's picture

Yeah, but that didn't work.  Everybody knew who he was anyway.  The guy in the mask?  Oh, yeah, that's Michael Jackson.

El Vaquero's picture

I hope it's a copstache.  You'll never worry about getting a ticket again. 

El Vaquero's picture

Eh, I'm one of those people who just stands the fuck out in a crowd.  I could mitigate that somewhat, but even with a lot of effort, I would still stand out.  I got into a fight at a hockey game when I was a teenager, or rather a big fucking brawl that made the hockey players stop and watch us, and two weeks later, I had people telling me that they saw me there all the way from across the arena.  I'm not the guy you send in for covert shit.  If there is a picture of me doing something and I don't have a full blown mask on, I'm fucked.

Wahooo's picture

You could always become La Vaquera.

Philalethian's picture

"Facial ID software measures placement of eyes: far edge, near edge, height, etc."

One other little detail is, they use the drivers license picture in that data base already for facial recognition software in all stores, and cameras everywhere.

Considering the face is mostly relaxed in a more frowning way pretty much of the time, smiling as brightly as you can in any picture thy take, or going through the camera alley's out all over the highways of America throws the software off when it is mostly looking for the relaxed facial looks, and variations.

When you get your drivers license picture, smile as big as you can. Try seeing the facial differences in the mirror to see big differences.





macholatte's picture


maybe what you say is true and that's why they won't let you smile for their camera...... same for passport photos and mug shots.

IndyPat's picture

That's why I smile all the time! Show big bro my happy face.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

You need to do more than that:
Use theatrical makeup and facial prosthetics (tradecraft) if you want to be really private and say "FU!"

PT's picture

Or a paper bag over your head.  Everyone wear a paper bag over your head!

GoldenTool's picture

That made me snort my coffee.

Wahooo's picture

How do I join the cult god?

PT's picture

No point.  Your brain will continually be shut down for "important" updates, your skull will continuously broadcast advertisements into your grey matter, and the whole thing will need a special external battery pack which will just happen to cost a little bit more to maintain each year ...

Battleaxe's picture

Everyone, right now, put a sticker over your camera on your laptop!

Or else say, "Cheese"!

JoeSexPack's picture

& phone cam.


& smart TV cam.


Or be on NSA amateur porn show.

GoldenTool's picture

Always disconnect from the board.

dellievan's picture

   /They will stop at nothing people  .  .  .    Voight Kampff, implants.            Long thick stakes, mallets, silver crosses.          "time to die"

mrblah's picture

Yup, facebook already gives them an alleged 1bn faces(say 500mn if you cut out the fake accounts Facebook owns to fake-like things)


Thus, this is non-story.

ZerOhead's picture

It's a story because they are telling you that they are linking shit up, it's going to be very intrusive and it's not going to be perfect.

And they won't dare tell the courts that because it could ruin the 100% conviction record.

mrblah's picture

They already have things linked up. We have ID cards. Driving license's, passports, even photo IDs for some gyms.

While the photographs on Gym IDs likely arent government accessible, the other three examples certainly are.

NidStyles's picture

The three largest commercial gyms in the US require bio-metrics and fingerprints to become a member. I looked up the cost to buy a weight set and have them at home, still cheaper than selling my soul for crap I don't want. 

benb's picture

The situation is much worse than what is being said. There are satellites tracking all of us using biometrics. The up close biometric tying you to an i.d. is needed on everyone to tie to the satellite scan. Biometric driver’s licenses are just one way to get the data.

On the bridge I cross in CA there are biometric cameras located at the toll booths. At night you can see the L.E.D. flashes go off here and there as peoples faces are photo’d and I suppose along with their plate numbers.

I’m told the rough number of the trouble makers to be disposed of in the U.S. is 20 million. This will make the job much easier for the drones and orbital beam weapons.

NidStyles's picture

That is the plotline for the new Captain America movie chum....

benb's picture

Didn't catch the latest Hollywood plastic slime so I wouldn't know.

IndyPat's picture

Let them get a LIDAR scan of my nutsack.

Traitorous douchebags.

Yes, that goes for you too, mr. NSA....

When I go through airport security I always opt for the full 4th violating pat down. The TSA always asks why I opt out and would I like to do it in private.
I tell them.."see my wife over there? She's a doctor. Oncologist. Neuro Oncologist. Now you try to say it.....good. She'll be giving you chemo after they remove the volleyball sized GBM tumor from your ugly head from standing next to that useless radioactive equipment all day."
I grin. They don't. I see a flicker of fear go across their dumb faces for an instant.
And I tell them I want the pat down right out in the open. Give the sheep in the stalls the full show in hopes of waking people up. When I'm told to hold my arms out to the sides, I always fly double bird salutes.

shovelhead's picture


I tell them I take diuretics so I cant take my shoes off. Make em work for a living. I refuse to stand in an airport in holey socks. I have toenails like Wolverine.

Wahooo's picture

Isn't that the entire point of the internet - to reduce man to bytes?

prains's picture

how will the software recognize Yellen's face, it already looks like the ass of every 89 year old man in Brooklyn

wintermute's picture

No need. She's part of the TBTJ

JuliaS's picture

Forget the feds. The jeanie is out of the bottle when it comes to tech. Anything that can be done will be done and if not by one entity, then by another. Only option you have is to beat them at their own game. They have a database on you and you build a database on them. A database of every banker, hedge fund manager, politician and officer. Just like they track you, you can track them. They fly drones, you fly drones. They step over the line, you cross the line right back.

Facial recognition can be done, will be done is done already. You can't prevent the information from flowing and from others analyzing it. A digital camera, a drone, a cctv cam, and with or without your concern you're in a database. It'll be a private one, a corporate one, a political one or a foreign spy agency one... or all of them.

You can already use 3rd party utilities and search engines to comb through images onilne and recognize faces. Law enforcement is only playing catchup to popular trends. The tech is out. The only question is whether you're going to use it yourself or pretend it doesn't exist.

doctor10's picture

One of the many reasons to wear a hat in public-was so that when the King's men came riding into town looking for someone, they were forced to dismount and walk up to someone.


villainvomit's picture

If you like your face, you can keep your face......we'll keep it too !!!

JanaUsoFine's picture

And the last 5-6 years of "Photo-Tagging" on facebook has trained the entire system up to this point.