GAO Report Sheds Light on FBI’s Secret Biometric Program

The FBI has developed a powerful biometric identification system without proper oversight, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

GAO Report Sheds Light on FBI's Secret Biometric ProgramThe report has revealed the FBI’s FACE—Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation—program, a facial recognition system that scans images obtained from civilian databases. FACE has access to over 411.9 million images collected from passports, driver licenses, and visa documents, and these are not necessarily from criminal databases.

The GAO report has found the FBI to be in violation of the Privacy Act in not sufficiently disclosing its activities with respect to the FACE program to the public. FACE complements the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, an openly known biometric identification program the revolves around criminal databases, and which the FBI has recently moved to exempt from the Privacy Act.

The GAO report was commissioned by US Senator Al Franken, who has long been vocal about his concerns over the proliferation of biometric identification technologies.

Sources: TechCrunch, CNN Money

June 16, 2016 – by Alex Perala