In the name of conducting its ongoing battles against terrorism and organized crime, the FBI is on track to compile a database of the biometric information of over 50 million people by 2015. The data, which will be composed of photographic images and biometric data, will allow the bureau to potentially identify up to one out of every six American citizens by using facial recognition software.
The new system, which has been under development for several years, is meant to replace the FBI’s fingerprint database, and will allow far more accurate information to be obtained and verified at much faster speeds.
One of the most controversial aspects of the FBI’s new system is the fact that it will include information about people who are not criminals and have not been suspected of being involved in any crimes or criminal plots.
Apparently, many of the photos included in the database will result from people who have applied for a job which required an FBI background check to be submitted during the employment process. According to published reports, up to 4.3 million such images will be included in the database, as well as another approximately one million images which will come from unspecified sources.
Though privacy groups have their concerns regarding the compilation methods and usage guidelines for the database, this will not be the first time that the FBI has compiled a large database of biometric data from American citizens. The previously mentioned fingerprint database was not only massive in scope, but also became so routinely used that often times states required FBI fingerprints in order for a person to obtain professional licensing.
So while there may be legitimate concerns relating to the fact that the FBI will have this incredible resource at its disposal, its primary purpose is doubtlessly to keep Americans safe and to help put criminals behind bars.