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Fbi Launches $1 Billion Face Recognition Project

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Police station

Mugshots are just the start for the FBI's criminal-identification system that will be rolled out nationwide by 2014.

Credit: Timothy Fadek/Corbis

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is using facial-recognition technology to identify criminals and the system will be rolled out nationwide by 2014. A handful of states began uploading their photos as part of a pilot project in February. The FBI wants to use the technology to scan mugshots for a match, track suspects by picking out their faces in a crowd, and to compare images of a person of interest from security cameras or public photos uploaded onto the Internet against its national repository of images.

Although details about the FBI's algorithms have not been provided, they would perform an automatic search and return a list of potential hits to sort through and use as possible leads for an investigation. The technology would enable law enforcement to identify criminals more accurately and lead to quicker arrests. Privacy advocates have expressed concern that photos of people with no criminal record will be added to the searchable photo database.

The facial-recognition project is part of the FBI's $1 billion Next Generation Identification program, which also will make use of biometrics such as iris scans, DNA analysis, and voice identification.

From New Scientist 
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