There's a good chance it could be.
Facial recognition has been part of the FBI's Next Generation Identification program for years now. It's been used to catch criminals in the past, which is a good thing, but some are worried that the system is taking things a little too far and could affect innocent citizens.
A new study requested by Senator Al Franken reveals that the FBI's facial recognition database includes an estimated 411.9 million images, comprised of 30 million mugshots, 140 million visa application pictures and even millions of drivers' license photos from 16 states of innocent and law-abiding citizens.
Does the FBI have your photo in its database?
- If you've ever had a mugshot taken or been charged with a crime, the answer is yes. If you've applied for a visa, the answer is yes.
- If you live in Utah, North Dakota, Michigan, and South Carolina, the answer is yes.
- If you live in New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Delaware and Vermont, the answer is highly likely.
- If you live in Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts or Connecticut, there's good news. These states don't release license photos to the FBI.
Privacy advocates are concerned about the growing database of images too. The main concern is that normal, every citizens like you and me will get caught up in the system and be grouped in with criminals, which could lead to some unfortunate events for many people.
A spokesman for the ACLU said in a statement:
"Face recognition is a relatively new technology and it's important that not only the FBI but the public be aware of its limitations. Errors mean random people could be falsely identified as potential criminals and find themselves coming under the FBI's powerful investigatory microscope. That could be not only invading people's privacy, but also exposing them to accusations of wrongdoing."
What do you think? Is the database necessary to protect our country? Or is the FBI taking things a little bit too far? Let us know what you think by posting in the comments below.