FBI has 411 Million Photos in its Facial Recognition System, and a Federal Watchdog Has Criticized its Improper Implementation

The FBI has amassed more than 411 million photos as part of its vast facial recognition database, according to a government watchdog — which in a new report criticized the system for its lack of safeguards and protections. That includes millions of individuals’ driving license photos, as well as photos of foreigners applying for visas, and criminal mugshots.

But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the FBI in a new report, published Wednesday, saying that the agency had not properly tested the system or balanced civil liberties and privacy.

GAO is making six recommendations, including, that the Attorney General determine why privacy impact assessments and a System of Records Notice were not published as required and implement corrective actions, and for the FBI director to conduct tests to verify that the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System is accurate and take steps to determine whether systems used by external partners are sufficiently accurate for FBI’s use. DOJ agreed with one, partially agreed with two, and disagreed with three of the six recommendations. In response, GAO clarified one recommendation, updated another recommendation, and continues to believe that all six recommendations remain valid as discussed further in this report.

You can read more in an article at http://goo.gl/BRCCjZ while the GAO report may be found at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-267.

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