Facial Recognition Tech Could Ensnare Millions Of Innocent Americans For Crimes They Didn’t Commit

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Daniel Lang via SHTFplan.com,

It’s often the case that new technologies arrive on the scene faster than our society and its legal code can keep up. Sometimes this can be a good thing. For instance, 3D printing allows people to print out unregulated gun parts, thus allowing gun owners to circumvent the onerous laws of our government, which has struggled to come up with new laws to restrict the technology.

When technology advances at a breakneck pace however, it can also be quite dangerous for our liberties. This is especially true in regards to privacy. If a new technology makes it easy for the government to track us, you can bet that the government is going to take its sweet time updating the legal code in a way that will protect us from surveillance.

That certainly seems to be the case with facial recognition software. During a recent Congressional Oversight Committee hearing, members of both political parties sounded the alarm on the FBI’s use of the technology, and read the written testimony of Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch:

Lynch detailed the stunning scope of the FBI’s photo collection. In addition to collecting criminal and civil mug shots, the agency currently has “memorandums of understanding” with 16 states that mean every driver’s license photo from those states is accessible to the agency—without the drivers’ consent. The FBI also has access to photos from the U.S. State Department’s passport and visa records.


Lynch argued that “Americans should not be forced to submit to criminal face recognition searches merely because they want to drive a car. They shouldn’t have to worry their data will be misused by unethical government officials with unchecked access to face recognition databases. And they shouldn’t have to fear that their every move will be tracked if face recognition is linked to the networks of surveillance cameras that blanket many cities.”


“But without meaningful legal protections, this is where we may be headed,” Lynch stated. “Without laws in place, it could be relatively easy for the government and private companies to amass databases of images of all Americans and use those databases to identify and track people in real time as they move from place to place throughout their daily lives.”



All told, law enforcement agencies around the country have access to 400 million photos in facial recognition databases, which are connected to roughly 50% of American adults. Most of these people have never committed a crime, and obviously haven’t given any consent to this.

At first glance it may sound harmless to be in one of these databases. Movies and TV shows make it sound like this technology can help law enforcement swiftly and precisely nab suspects. So what do you have to fear if you haven’t committed a crime? It turns out that in real life, facial recognition is far from perfect.

Internal FBI documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center indicate that the FBI’s own database, called the Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System, or NGI-IPS, had an acceptable margin of error of 20 percent — that is, a 1-in-5 chance of “recognizing” the wrong person.


And research published in the October 2015 issue of the scientific journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the universities of Sydney and New South Wales in Australia found that the humans who interpret such data build in an extra error margin approaching 30 percent.

If we ever allow our government to roll out facial recognition cameras on a wider scale, lots of innocent people are going to be hurt. Whether by mistake or by malice, it will become shockingly easy for law enforcement to identify ordinary people as criminals. The surveillance control grid will not only be inescapable, it will be unwieldy and rife with abuse.

It’s often said that you should never trade freedom for safety. In this case, we wouldn’t receive any kind of safety.

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Mr.BlingBling's picture

"If we ever allow our government to roll out facial recognition cameras on a wider scale . . ."

Sorry, but that ship already sailed and it doesn't matter whether it's 1,000 feet from the pier or 1,000 miles.  And the idea of restrictive laws?  They fuckin' laugh at the law now because they're never prosecuted.  Without consequences--real, get fucked in the ass by your cellie consequences--there's no point in recommending new laws.

But thanks for the laugh when you called it "our" government.  That was funny!

OverTheHedge's picture

So when, not if, you are incorrectly identified, and the door is kicked in at 4:00am by the snatch squad, and they shoot the dog, possibly the baby and almost certainly the "perpetrator" of the "crime", not to worry, as the legal system will rapidly prove said perp's innocence without fuss, and handshakes all round and much jovial back-slapping will ensue.

Laugh? I nearly shat!

People are going to start creating home defence systems to protect themselves from SWAT teams, and I don't mean just guns. I'm thinking claymores, flamethrowers, hidden entrances, booby traps etc. I can't wait for the future - it looks like so much fun. Do I get my flying car?

espirit's picture

Faux News.

Anybody that had an ID pic taken over the last 10 years has had their mug entered into biometric database.

Automatic Choke's picture

A good thing they are also collecting all of our traffic movements, cell phone locations, net logins, etc.   With that database, they will certainly be able to show that we have alibis for false accusations.   Whew!!


Art Van Delay's picture

Soup letter named agencies will take care of everything.

Theres a new (old) one that just became bigger:

Bet you never heard about it:

NGA  National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency -> https://goo.gl/v11fcN

We should start to wear beards and hads and whatnot and never use phones

Comtrend's picture
Comtrend (not verified) Art Van Delay Mar 30, 2017 10:51 PM

Trump seems to enjoy being spied upon.

I dont see him trying to put and end to it 


stizazz's picture

A police state gets a police Potus.

kavlar's picture
kavlar (not verified) stizazz Mar 30, 2017 11:33 PM

Payback for the greatest injustice of the 20th century.


stizazz's picture

Must be something. Because America keeps getting worse.

lexxus's picture
lexxus (not verified) stizazz Mar 30, 2017 11:36 PM

Something's gotta give. Seriously.

stizazz's picture

Let's all withhold paying our taxes.

Oh regional Indian's picture

*Looks around at all the posers who flamed him yesterday*... sooooo.... looks like trumpetts did not like their current power fantasy flavoUr duo of Ivan Trump and Melvin Trump being outed. Eh?

But you were all so quick to jump on the Mochelle Bandwagon, remember? Your fucking skin deep eyes (That, for the most part CANNOT SEE)... pa fucking thetic.

What a disappointing bunch of sheep this once fabled lot of internet commentators has become. 

Fuck what is true and what is false, my knowledge of that may be as specious as yours, at best. It's your mind-sets. Where three years ago I'd have leapt at the opportunity to hang out with a few fellow hedgers and discuss things that matter in a pugnacious but fair dialouge, today?

Not so much. The current, overtly racist flavoUr of the mix here is frightening. If a person of coloUr showed up, he might get lynched for being a nigger, a dindu or a hindoo, or a baboo, or an H1B or a wetback.....

Congratulations for letting the very controllers you espouse hating.... win!

Yeah, a bunch of w(h)inners ;-)

So, onto the topic of the day....

Nah, fuck it, let me moUrn the death of what was, fractally fitting....

Here, read these and think blowback. 

America is a Skinner Box (well all cunt rees now are, but you've been skinner boxed long before there was skinner).

Anyone here read the Dao deh Ching? There are no winners in a war. All you "proud" veterans can go fuck your self in teh ass. You never a fought a fair, brave or just war. Fuck you for your role in this shit-heap we now inhabit...


Did I say fuck you? Well, fuck you....

How about a little of this: you were fucked as a people once the parasites came in via Germany.... 


You were the first nation to be fully certified PTSD afflicted via War, TV and wars now made for TeeVee...

The Queen of England's giant cattle pen and fodder provider.... Queen of Englands Drug and slave running enriched parasite class ruled, DC Act of 1871 outsiders....


So, yeah.... this minority report stuff is chicken-shite. 

Pound sand, or keys, whatever.... and try telling me I don't care....

Me? ;-)



Greshams Law's picture

The real risk to the innocent is not that they will be falsely accused of a crime they didn't commit. The real risk is that such easy to use technology will be used as justification for asset seizure (no charge needed), search warrants, and/or detention for additional scrutiny until a case is made. Everyone is guilty of something, whether we know it or not.

You might beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride. The process is the punishment.

PT's picture

Evidence against you will be manufactured and evidence to prove your innocence will magically disappear, no matter how many CCTVs / Facebook spying could prove your true movements, and questions will not be asked.

bob_bichen's picture
bob_bichen (not verified) lexxus Mar 31, 2017 11:51 AM

RE: chronic SPAMMER kavlar, techies-r-us, lexxus, stizazz, mano-a-mano, etc.   (ALL THE SAME PERSON REPLYING TO HIS OWN COMMENTS)

You have NO IDEA how troubled this individual, the Spammer With One Hundred Log-ons, really is.  He has trolled and spammed his website crap on here forever, always with the same macabre conversations with a long series of "imaginary playmates." It really is quite perverse and whoever "he" is, he seems to really get his rocks off voting himself up arrows and replying to his own comments, and also appears to have no life beyond making off-topic comments with his link to the SPAM-, TROJAN-, VIRUS-INFESTED  "biblicisminstitute,wordpress,com"  (sometimes disguised as a short-URL  http://wp.me  )

He shares this pathology with "Audio Feeline " "blue fin" AKA "TrollAndDump" (formerly known as XYTHRAS - since banned) whose "dailywesterner,com" is, if anything WORSE than the biblicism fetishist, also SPAM-, TROJAN-, VIRUS-INFESTED.

Other ZHers  may wish to take one minute to send an email to abuse@zerohedge.com requesting that all of the "imaginary friends" (in the list below; copy and paste)   be permanently banned for spamming.

As you do that, use your imagination to try to conceive of what type of whackadoo would spend their life in pajamas, fake eyelashes and high heels, eating stale chips and drinking cheap soda from the dollar store, popping zits, and spamming zerohedge. 

Many of the following have been banned but, like crabs and cockroaches, they just seem to come back.  The "short list of imaginary playmates" includes:

Audio Feeline
blue fin







Aristotle of Greece





Yippee Kiyay


SumTing Wong

King Tut



Holy hand grenade of Antioch,

etc. etc. etc.

espirit's picture


Hope you got tha package Abdulla sent you. Maybe you can share your bomb making secrets with the ffolks over at Stormfront.

espirit's picture

Don't forget debit and CC purchases, which can time in with CCTV.


OverTheHedge's picture

Part of the Amazon Prime deal is that they give you "free" cloud storage for photographs. As I went digital in 1998, and I take roughly 10,000 photos a year, it seemed a good idea to make use of this. Having uploaded a gazillion photos, Amazon very kindly identified every face, on every photo, and asked if I would like to name each individual, for my convenience and enjoyment. I didn't, for obvious reasons, but I assume that most Amazon users will embrace this fully. Now, we know from wikileaks that these companies work hand and glove with the NSA, and if the NSA has it, so does everyone else. I think it is a fair assumption that most digital photos available on the internet are already part of the database. Food for thought, is it not?

GreatUncle's picture

You could have named them all incorrect.








GreatUncle's picture

Like me posting this, a time, a place.

No good if the information is never brought forward and why you end up with innocent people jailed.

The lega prosecutors suppress information to make the conviction and appease the native and the false news MSM.

espirit's picture

As Ayn Rand stated, you're just an un-indicted felon within an authoritarian system.

Me, also.



Lumberjack's picture

Take pictures of busts (statues) of famous people. Post said pix on FB and tag it with your name. Do it several times and have your friends do it too.

espirit's picture

My way is much easier, and moar fun.



Bricker's picture

The future does look pretty sinister

junction's picture

Facial recognition, one more tool in the FBI hit team arsenal to murder people on their kill list. 


zoomie92's picture

You said it brother.  The NSA records every single electronic transmission in the world that it can, retards at the airport fingerbang your children while missing 95% of all knives and guns that go through the x-ray and microwave scanner, and dipshits at every turn provide "security" for those who pay taxes - which means that they prefer to shake down a mommy in a minivan going 9 mh over the speed limit rather than arrest rapists.  Ye, sit is a wonderful world we have created.  

The unifying factor here is that half-wit f#cktard government workers have effective sovereign immunity from any possible crime that they might commit against the populace.  And even wrose, they are fully aware of the fact that they live in the land of no consequences.  When their sacrosanct pensions fail to pay out the fun is really going to start.  Government and union hacks are too stupid to see the inevitable.  That does not make it one ounce less inevitable.  

Anyone doubting this please explain to me how Lois Lerner is on retirement pension and Koskinen still has a job that does not involve joining the Aryan Nation so as to avoid daily prison rape.....

dexter_morgan's picture

full face covering hijabs.....hmmmmm

Let em push you around's picture

fuq it are you serious, like there is any way to stop this shit, it is already everywhere. 

GooseShtepping Moron's picture

So, you are entered into a facial recognition database when you get a driver's license, but there is no way to check whether or not you're a citizen of the country when you get the license in the first place.

Something doesn't add up here.

Hongcha's picture

What it means is, 'Country' is an antiquated concept.  It's being turned into a prison planet.  What meaning can 'Country' have to someone sentenced to life in prison?

espirit's picture

Something doesn't add up.

Nor should it.


Time for a party.

Global Douche's picture

Now you understand where Alex Jones has been coming from all these years!

Global Douche's picture

It's only the beginning! Want me to expand on this?

Other aspects of the Real ID Act in the future could include (and are now included in law here in Oklahoma, due to our recent agreement to abide by this rape of our Tenth Amendment) In Other Words, don't be surprised if your DMV or Tag Agent (if in OK) asks in the future for

* A DNA sample

* A complete set of fingerprints, not just the two index ones which these fucking bureaucrats now have from Okies.

* A handwriting sample, done on equipment where pressure areas are measured and digitized accordingly.

* A retinal or iris scan.

These are the 4 additional ones from the bill that I remember and are now codified into law. It's just a matter of time before they insist on such, and I'm willing to wager there was damned little debate in regard to whom the database would be entrusted to. Mind you, I did bring up in retort to the state Senator's lame response of access to Oklahoma military bases being his reason of approval (his colleage, Kyle Loveless of OKC voted NO, yet has Tinker AFB in his backyard - he understands Liberty!) of the 22.1 million Americans whose personal data was hacked in 2014, blamed on the Chinese of course.

East Indian's picture

This will end in either


1. a world-wide neo-feudal state, where 99.999% will be toiling slaves under 24 x 7 watch, and slowly they will turn into automatons and then to be replaced by robots and marked for extinction...


2. A complete smashing up of civilization, a setback of at least two hundred years, a suspicion of everything hi-tech, and a widespread luddite state...

I would love to go back to 1984, and would hug Andropov with gratitude. American empire is worse than the Cold War. 

Hongcha's picture

East Indian; good summary of two bad choices.  You really should read "Canticle for Liebowitz" which is about western civ. raising itself back up after a terrified and insane populace destroys everything 'Tech' after a nuclear exchange, thereby plunging themselves deliberately into a new Dark Age.  Written in the 1960s.  The author pretty much went around the bend himself, after finishing the book.

Georgiabelle's picture

What really blows my mind is that even with all the advanced technology available to them our law enforcement and "intelligence" services still can't seem to prevent or even predict terror-related events like the Boston Bombing, the Fort Hood shootings and the Orlando gay nightclub massacre, in spite of all the perpetrators having been brought to their attention in advance of the events. I'm beginning to believe the conspiracy theorists who claim that all the terror events that have occurred on our soil have been "false flag" events. How else can you explain the gap in intelligence and law enforcement capabilities and execution?  

espirit's picture

If you who you say you are, I'll educate you.

GreatUncle's picture

Not surprising you have a minimal number of government enforcers per people.

They cannot cover a large number of events at the same time.

So if you want to cause mayhem you kick off all events at the same time all over the place.

What amazes me more is that ISIS has not figured it out that a 100's of events all at the same time spread out over a wide area, not even big events would paralyze the whole system.

The surveillance system is thus designed to catch you later after you killed a few people and did absolutely fuck all to prevent it so kind of worthless to the dead ones.

A long time ago now the police were considered part of society, but once politicised as they have been over the last few decades their effectiveness fell away.

Brother-in-law, wants out, long time serving because of this politicisation.

pparalegal's picture

I am getting a very cool West Coast trendy drive time burka. Made in Afghanistan and sold on Amazon and Wal*Mart.

GRDguy's picture

Combine face-recognition with browsing history to nail innocent people, any time, any place.

Hard-earned tax dollars at work to control the masses.

quesnay's picture

Going to have to outlaw hoodies to, oh and hats, scarfs, face paint patterns, big goofy glasses, laser pointers, flashlights ... Shit just declare marshal law and get it over with.

Global Douche's picture

Don't laugh! There was indeed a Senate Bill a year or so ago from a Lawton, OK State Senator who tried to outlaw hoodies throughout Oklahoma. I shit you not! I don't think the bill made it out of committee, yet I made damned certain my Senator knew where I stood on that. If there are really issues on hoodies here, leave that for Tulsa and OKC to decide, but leave the rest of the state the hell out of it.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Same story rehashed over and over again.


I wish the 'hedge had a "Hide Doom Porm" button.

Whodathunkit's picture

They just want to identify the potential pizza party girls and boyz. PREVERTS!

Md4's picture

Not if you shoot the eyes out first...