FBI Launches $1 Billion Face Recognition Project

Sara Reardon
New Scientist

“FACE recognition is ‘now’,” declared Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in a testimony before the US Senate in July.

It certainly seems that way. As part of an update to the national fingerprint database, the FBI has begun rolling out facial recognition to identify criminals.

It will form part of the bureau’s long-awaited, $1 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) programme, which will also add biometrics such as iris scans, DNA analysis and voice identification to the toolkit. A handful of states began uploading their photos as part of a pilot programme this February and it is expected to be rolled out nationwide by 2014. In addition to scanning mugshots for a match, FBI officials have indicated that they are keen to track a suspect by picking out their face in a crowd.

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