“This summer, the reach of facial-recognition software will grow further still. As part of its Next-Generation Identification (NGI) program, the FBI will roll out nationwide access to more than 16 million mug shots, and local and state police departments will contribute millions more. It’s the largest, most comprehensive database of its kind, and it will turn a relatively exclusive investigative tool into a broad capacity for law enforcement. Officers with no in-house face-matching software—the overwhelming majority—will be able to submit an image to the FBI’s servers in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where algorithms will return a ranked list of between 2 and 50 candidates.
The $1.2-billion NGI program already collects more than faces. Its repositories include fingerprints and palm prints; other biometric markers such as iris scans and vocal patterns may also be incorporated. “
but before you yell privacy violation consider this
“Facial recognition, on the other hand, never identifies a subject—at best, it suggests prospects for further investigation. In part, that’s because faces are mutable. Fingerprints don’t grow mustaches, and DNA can’t throw on a pair of sunglasses. But faces can sprout hair and sag with time and circumstance. People can also resemble one another, either because they have similar features or because a low-resolution image tricks the algorithm into thinking they do.”
and the Cara facial recognition Reebok uses in some of its stores (in graph) and casinos in Macau and elsewhere are using are just as sophisticated