Half Of American Adults Exist In A Government Accessible Facial Recognition Network

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

This is a topic I’ve written about occasionally over the years. A recent article published by Vocativ adds some interesting information to the discomforting trend.

Vocativ reports:

Half of all American adults are already in some sort of facial recognition network accessible to law enforcement, according to a comprehensive new study.


Conducted over a year and relying in part on Freedom of Information and public record requests to 106 law enforcement agencies, the study, conducted by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, found American police use of facial recognition technology is a scattered, hodgepodge network of laws and regulations.


“Looking at the sum total of what we found, there have been no laws that comprehensively regulate face recognition technology, and there’s really no case law either,” Clare Garvie, an associate at the CPT, told Vocativ. “So we find ourselves having to rely on the agencies that are using that technology to rein it in. But what we found is that not every system — by a long shot — has a use policy.”


That so many American adults are in at least one facial recognition database is largely due to the fact that at least 26 states, and likely more, share their Department of Motor Vehicles databases with the FBI, state police, or other law enforcement agencies, the study found. Compounded with that, police often have access to mugshot databases. Garvie’s study found that most law enforcement agencies don’t purge such records, even if the arrested suspect is found not guilty, unless a court orders it. The sole known exception is the Michigan State Police, which does expunge photos after a set amount of time.


The report also found that more than one in four law enforcement agencies have access to some sort of facial recognition capability, meaning either that the agency possesses such software or it has some sort of partnership with a police intelligence agency that does. The West Virginia Fusion Center, for example, a Charleston-based coalition of federal and local law enforcement, possesses software that matches individuals in video footage with a database of still photographs. Not only does it share information with the FBI, West Virginia State Police, and city and county departments, it may grant access to 77 other fusion centers across the country.


“These systems are used on law-abiding Americans without their knowledge or consent in most cases,” Garvie said. 

It’s important to understand that the above is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. For example, as we learned in last year’s post, “This is No Longer Fiction” – The Era of Automatic Facial Recognition and Surveillance Is Here:

Today in the US there’s a massive but invisible industry that records the movements of cars around the country. Cameras mounted on cars and tow trucks capture license places along with date/time/location information, and companies use that data to find cars that are scheduled for repossession. One company, Vigilant Solutions, claims to collect 70 million scans in the US every month. The companies that engage in this business routinely share that data with the police, giving the police a steady stream of surveillance information on innocent people that they could not legally collect on their own. And the companies are already looking for other profit streams, selling that surveillance data to anyone else who thinks they have a need for it.


Already the FBI has a database of 52 million faces, and describes its integration of facial recognition software with that database as “fully operational.” In 2014, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the database would not include photos of ordinary citizens, although the FBI’s own documents indicate otherwise. And just last month, we learned that the FBI is looking to buy a system that will collect facial images of anyone an officer stops on the street.


Last year, the US Department of Commerce tried to prevail upon industry representatives and privacy organizations to write a voluntary code of conduct for companies using facial recognition technologies. After 16 months of negotiations, all of the consumer-focused privacy organizations pulled out of the process because industry representatives were unable to agree on any limitations on something as basic as nonconsensual facial recognition.


Don’t expect to have access to this technology for yourself anytime soon. This is not facial recognition for all. It’s just for those who can either demand or pay for access to the required technologies — most importantly, the tagged photo databases. And while we can easily imagine how this might be misused in a totalitarian country, there are dangers in free societies as well. Without meaningful regulation, we’re moving into a world where governments and corporations will be able to identify people both in real time and backwards in time, remotely and in secret, without consent or recourse.

As you can see, one of the key aspects of an increasingly pervasive use of facial recognition technology is the total lack of regulation or informed consent that goes along with the collection and use of this intimate personal information. It’s a total wild, wild west environment where both corporations and government basically think they can do whatever they want. Indeed, they will continue to do exactly that until we the people make enough of a stink about it.

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Hitlery_4_Dictator's picture

WARNING is this for real?? Read it all, page 6 is when it gets freaky - pass this on, any thoughts would be welcome (I have no prooft it's real but they have the technology http://media.wix.com/ugd/0cf371_514bfe6a2dec4871ab7da7d50b9be410.pdf



Hitlery_4_Dictator's picture

The PDF above shows internal Hillary polling data showing Trump winning by landslide (19-77), and to deploy some sci-fi trech that will stop those results from happening.

PrayingMantis's picture



... the other half has no social network access ...


... "To be prepared is half the victory." ~ Miguel de Cervantes

Manthong's picture

OK so let’s just suppose we all become major league Goths.. and one day we go out with black stripes all over our faces an purple hair and then the next day have on our green wig with bright red swirls all over our faces with hijab to boot… how good is your f’ng Face Rec?

Took Red Pill's picture

I know someone who is working on the new Massachusetts toll pike towers. They’re touted for eliminating toll booths to help the flow of traffic and prevent accidents. Raytheon Corp. is helping to build and install them. They have cameras that read your license plate and mail you a bill if you don’t have a transponder. Sounds good so far? He said what most people don’t know is that they also have high definition cameras to look into the car and see the occupants. The data will be stored for five years. Combined with facial recognition, they’ll know every person driving down the road. I asked him how this could be legal and he said it’s considered a private road and they can do what they want. I’m sure this is going on or will be happening across the country. Big brother is here and most are oblivious or apathetic.

boattrash's picture

Meh, while I don't like it, it's a modern day version of mug-shots.

I have a Facial Recognition Database as well, it's called a brain, and a lot of faces would be advised not to show themselves at my place.

ZD1's picture

Home Depot now has cameras that takes a pictures of shoppers as they make their purchases!



beemasters's picture

Perhaps one way to find out and mess up the system is to falsely tag photos of people on FB.

boattrash's picture

Double...the way this computer's acting, I wonder how many copies it just sent to .gov/


Manthong's picture

Oh yeah, I told the missus and some other fambly that they are going to lose the little transponders because the license plate rec and video data is so good nowadays and they just want to do everything online.


Oh….and if you haven’t figured it out yet.. they won’t need the cameras because of your car’s WI-FI signature.

nyse's picture


Hockey puck's picture

Under promise, over deliver 

zvzzt's picture

indeed, I would have thought everyone with a passport/ID card has facial features stored (?)

Consuelo's picture



 Planet of the apes from the 70's, wherein the ape's leader is projected in a large hologram to frighten them into submission.



Bemused Observer's picture

It is refusing to 'load'...what is it?

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Soon they will have my middle finger on file, and then after that, my bare ass.

zvzzt's picture

not only yours... they've gotten lots of bare asses on file; so many people cannot pay rent anymore that they start camming... since all the .gov f*ckers have nothing to do all days except watching porn and/or cammers, I'm sure they've studied most bare asses incessantly and know all them by heart by now... 

They'll never get to see my middle finger; i'ts all yucky from pleasing their totally bored wives while they'll are out 'working'. 

ToSoft4Truth's picture

High school year books.  DMV.... 

xrxs's picture

There's also gait analysis, and they're able to look at characteristics of your neck area.

CCTV, hoodies up.

Stanelli's picture

You know what gives one away much more reliably? Walking pattern! The way you walk, it's unique. Doesn't matter if you wear a mask or a hoodie. Most of us don't even think of this characteristics but there are plenty more that would give you away and enable your recognition that you've never thoght of. And as for walk pattern, you may change it a bit as long as you concentrate to do it. After a while you'll forget about it and boom! Gotcha!

Byte Me's picture

Dawg!! That's an impressive beast.

You should be invited to visit with the WH incumbent..

Shlomo Schwartzman's picture
Shlomo Schwartzman (not verified) xrxs Oct 21, 2016 2:13 PM

They also have heat signature detectors. 

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

LOL. Not that crass or attention-getting, but, Yes.

Suggested RX:

- Deny them images, deny them quality images, feed them BS images.

- Don't put your face on social media. I use a 10 y.o. JPG on LinkedIn (I call it 'LieIn'). Doesn't everybody?

- Wear hats, hoodies, scarves, shades, facial hair, loose clothing.  Hey, wait a minute, is that why Brothers dress like that, when they go to a 7-11?

- Manipulate your gait: use a pronounced insert in one shoe, or wear different footwear on each foot. The latter works, but attracts attention and ridicule.

- If you want to go full JB (Jason Bourne) or MI (Mission Impossible), learn to use Theatrical Augmentation and/or Makeup, to distort your facial highlights.

- Use spook tradecraft, to be aware of CCTVs. Move accordingly, to minimize MPG info to them. Park your vehicle far from CCTVs, or out of their FOV (Field of View).

- These things are easier to do in the rust and snow belt, trickier in the sun belt. More creativity is required in the latter.

Etc, etc. The point is to mess with their SW algos. --> GIGO

- If you use a Burner Phone, you'll still need to mask / distort your voice, to counter AI-tracked Voice Recog. They don't need your phone number. Your voice print will do.


p.s. If you must carry a Smartphone, be sure to leave it Off or in Airplane mode when not using it. Then check your messages and VM at specific times. Bonus: this makes for much better Time Management on your part, not to be tethered and disrupted constantly, when not on the company clock (or in sales).

PTR's picture

Style tips for attending a protest:



Trucker Glock's picture

Only half?  When I renew my DL and carry permit, I'm told not to smile for facial recognition purposes.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

I have signed up for TSA precheck and Global traveler programs, so I assume that I am deep in their DB....

Lucky I use the fake mustachio.


Mr. Schmilkies's picture

I hope they got my left half, it's my best side.

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

I was just wondering if we could use this technology, for determining when the "real $hillary" is speaking, or her clone, the "fake $hillary" shows up.

cowdiddly's picture

Good, I hope the have a xerox copy of my buttcheeks too. The only photo I care about is on a passport to leave their scrapboot photo album all to themselves and let Clapper pay for it.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Michigan driving licenses not being part of this might explain why all the chinese are moving there and buying up city blocks....

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

I just had my US passport renewed, so I suppose the goons have me in their facial recognition database.

I don't recall consenting to that.  Nor do I recall consenting to the NSA spying on me.  Did I consent to the gubmint tracking my movements via the license plate scanners they have installed everywhere, and to storing those records?  I don't recall having done so.

Sometimes I think it is possible my gubmint may one day work against me.  Sometimes I think that one day they may try to find a a way to use all the data they have store up on me against me or to control me.  Sometimes I imagine the day may come when a sitting POTUS would openly campaign for a candidate of his own party to replace him!  I know, crazy, right?  Sometimes I imagine that the gubmint might go so far as to engage in a bit of, you know, minor, minor fraud in order to ensure that a candidate of a preferred political party comes out on top in a squeaker.

I'm such a nutjob.

cherry picker's picture

When I got my computers I taped the camera lens. On my cell phone it is in my pocket and never discuss anything important on it. If need be I can always throw in a swamp to get rid of the GPS tracking.

Am I doing anything wrong to do these things? No.

I don't like the thought of my identity being on someone's screen somewhere.

Took Red Pill's picture

That stuff helps but if they want to track you they can. According to Snowden, they can activate the GPS, camera and microphone in your smart phone even if its turned off!

HoserF16's picture

Fuck Me. I thought I was just being Paranoid...


I am Jobe's picture

Don't mess with Texas Police State. 

Downtoolong's picture


Thank God the FTC is still guaranteeing our privacy by maintaining the Do Not Call Registry for land lines.


bogbeagle's picture



But, you don't own your image ... nor can you ever own your image.


It doesn't exist anywhere outside of someone's brain.


So, the image that I have of you, is a construct of my own brain ... it's MY property.


Similiarly, if I photograph you, all I have done is captured reflected light in MY camera and constructed a likeness of you. It's all MY property.


So, on this occasion, I have to come down on the side of the image-collectors, even though they are despicable cops. 

Bryan's picture

Identity theft is mainstream now.  Big Brother knows who you are, and knows where you are, at all times.  Next will be an implant required in all newborns in the right hand or forehead for seemingly innocuous reasons... medical info, SSN, financial info, "saving your life", whatever.  Scary real, huh?

Bill of Rights's picture

I hope they got my pushing out a good shit face...

Pumpkin's picture

I will at least leave this earth with my soul.

bogbeagle's picture



Nope ... not if you are a voter.