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Facial recognition database used by FBI is out of control, House committee hears


Approximately half of adult Americans' photographs are stored in facial recognition databases that can be accessed by the FBI, without their knowledge or consent, in the hunt for suspected criminals. About 80% of photos in the FBI's network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver's licenses and passports. The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are more likely to misidentify black people than white people.

These are just some of the damning facts presented at last week's House oversight committee hearing, where politicians and privacy campaigners criticized the FBI and called for stricter regulation of facial recognition technology at a time when it is creeping into law enforcement and business.

"Facial recognition technology is a powerful tool law enforcement can use to protect people, their property, our borders, and our nation," said the committee chair, Jason Chaffetz, adding that in the private sector it can be used to protect financial transactions and prevent fraud or identity theft.

An excellent example of how privacy is often trampled by stealth.

This has already started n Australia with our "smart" drivers licences that include digitised hi-res photo, just the thing a creepy facial recognition system needs to get started.

Several Queensland city councils are already trialling systems

The federal government are also in on the act

Key Points

  • 50% of the population are in it
  • 80% of photos are non-criminal
  • Inaccurate in 15% of cases
  • No federal law controls it
  • No court limits it
  • This technology is not under control
  • Not tested for false positives or racial bias


Tags: leftwing.info, leftwing, news, australia, politics, political commentary, labor, Terrorism, Privacy, USA, FBI
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