As the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (the “FBI”) updates and improves the technology it uses to collect information, there is a growing concern that the implementation of these technologies will dramatically impact a citizen’s right to privacy.
The latest advancement that the FBI is working towards is the use of new and advanced biometric identification systems, particularly facial recognition. Currently, pilot programs across the United States are providing facial images of known criminals to the FBI’s database, for the purposes of investigating the feasibility and accuracy of these kinds of biometrics.
The FBI argues that the implementation of such systems will greatly improve the accuracy and response time for arrests, and are important features to be used in the future security of the country. Agencies such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, however, have raised issues that these projects will inevitably result in the inclusion of civilian photos into these facial recognition systems, and without detailed information on the systems and their algorithms, the opportunity for invasions of privacy and mis-identified individuals is significant – and concerning.
In any event, it appears as though the FBI and other such organizations are keen to move past the days of cards of fingerprints, and take advantage of the significant advancements in video quality and processing power that have increasingly improved the speed and accuracy of facial recognition programs over the last decade. However, as the government’s consideration and use of new biometric identification systems grows, significant attention will need to be paid to current and impending laws and regulations, in order to ensure that these new technologies do not become misused or abused.
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