An FBI database storing facial images for digital recognition purposes is on track to have 52 million images in it by next year, show bureau documents obtained through a lawsuit.
Technology companies, consumer groups and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration have begun a process to develop privacy standards for facial recognition technology. At a Feb. 6 meeting, Lawrence Strickling, assistant commerce secretary for communications and information, said that facial recognition technology raises "novel privacy questions."
Documents newly uncovered via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show Customs and Border Protection blurring the line between border security and other law enforcement operations through the frequency of its unmanned aerial vehicle flights on behalf of other agencies, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced Dec. 3 it would convene a multistakeholder process focused on privacy to develop a voluntary code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to facial recognition technology in a commercial environment.
According to a newly released privacy impact statement (.pdf) and local media reports, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will on Sept. 21 run a test to see if off-the-shelf cameras can be used to identify the faces of 20 lab volunteers mingled with people filing into the Toyota Center arena in Kennewick, Wash.
Broad-based use of biometric screening standards worldwide and interoperability between the Homeland Security Department and other agency systems are among the most significant technology improvements since Sept. 11, 2001, says Robert Mocny, DHS director of US-VISIT.
UAVs equipped with sensors such as facial recognition technology create the possibility of continuous and ongoing biometric surveillance, said Laura Donohue, an associate professor of law at Georgetown Law School. Biometrics until now have mostly been collected on an individual basis, such as through fingerprinting after arrest or through biometric identification for access control. A UAV with biometric sensors "changes how we think about public space," she said.
The Homeland Security Department increasingly is able to tap into other countries' fingerprint databases for purposes of identifying individuals, said Robert Mocny, director of US-VISIT. The United States and four other countries--the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand--share fingerprint information through a system called the Secure Real Time Platform.
The FBI says it may be in the market for a software that would permit mobile devices to capture biometric data including fingerprints, iris prints and faces.
The technology that makes unmanned aerial vehicles so attractive to hunting down and killing terrorists overseas also is setting up a major clash between security and privacy advocates in the U.S., the Congressional Research Service says.The clash is expected to come sooner rather than later.