EFF sues FBI over facial-recognition records

The civil liberties group wants details on the FBI's efforts to build a new biometric database
  • (IDG News Service)
  • — 27 June, 2013 14:32

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit to force the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn over records about a facial-recognition database it is building.

The EFF, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asked the judge to require the FBI to respond to the civil liberties group's Freedom of Information Act requests about the agency's Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometrics database, scheduled to launch in 2014.

The new database is described as "bigger, faster and better" than the agency's current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the EFF said in court documents. The new database will create a unique "face print" for each person included, the EFF said.

"Governmental use of face recognition -- and the potential for misuse -- raises many privacy concerns," EFF's lawyers wrote in court documents. Facial recognition allows identification of people in public and can be used to track people in public settings and on social networking sites, the EFF's lawyers wrote.

EFF also raised concerns about the accuracy of facial recognition, saying it depends on the quality of photographs.

"NGI will result in a massive expansion of government data collection for both criminal and noncriminal purposes," EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch said in a statement. "Biometrics programs present critical threats to civil liberties and privacy. Face-recognition technology is among the most alarming new developments, because Americans cannot easily take precautions against the covert, remote, and mass capture of their images."

The EFF's FOIA requests, filed in June and July of 2012, seek information about agreements and discussions between the FBI and state agencies regarding the face-recognition program, as well as records addressing the reliability of facial-recognition technology. The EFF also wants to see documentation about the FBI's plan to merge civilian and criminal records in a single repository.

The group also wants the FBI to disclose the number of facial-recognition records currently in its database.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Topics: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jennifer Lynch, security, legal, Civil lawsuits, government, Electronic Frontier Foundation, privacy, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
Use WhistleOut's technology to compare:
Mobile phone plans & deals
Mobile phone models
Mobile phone carriers
Broadband plans & deals
Broadband providers
Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?