The FBI's facial-recognition surveillance system that can pick out suspects from a crowd is now 'fully operational', officials announced today.

Programmers have been working for three years to install the Next Generation Identification system in 18,000 bureaus across the country and compile more than eight million mug shots.

By 2015, detectives will be able to use its in-built Interstate Photo System (IPS) to trace at least 52 million people - including innocent citizens.

Complete: FBI detectives can now use the Next Generation Identification system to recognise a criminal in any crowd using a database of more than 52 million images. It has taken three years to develop the system

'Ineffective': Critics have condemned the Interstate Photo System for only having an 85 per cent success rate

It will also feature a notification system called Rap Back, which will give investigators live updates of any given criminal's movements.

The program has sparked outrage among privacy groups who warn it is the final step on the way to becoming a surveillance state.

Critics have also condemned the IPS as 'ineffective' since it has a low success rate.

The NGI offers a list of 50 candidates for each face selected - but there is only an 85 per cent chance the suspect is on the list, according to HyperVocal.
Phases: 18,000 bureaus across the nation have installed the recognition database, which is now ready to use
The system, which will ultimately replace the nationwide fingerprint database, is just the first of many phases in a bid to modernize US detective work.

FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers in June: 'We’re piloting the use of mug shots, along with our fingerprint database, to see if we can find bad guys by matching pictures with mug shots.'

But he admitted he was not sure where the pictures were coming from, amid claims driving license pictures as well as police mug shots would be used.

The system builds on the FBI’s legacy fingerprint database, which already contains well over 100 million individual records, and has been designed to include multiple forms of biometric data, including palm prints and iris scans in addition to fingerprints and face recognition data.

NGI combines all these forms of data in each individual’s file, linking them to personal and biographic data like name, home address, ID number, immigration status, age, race, etc.

The database is shared with other federal agencies and with the approximately 18,000 tribal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States.

By 2012, NGI already contained 13.6 million images representing between 7 and 8 million individuals, and by the middle of 2013, the size of the database increased to 16 million images.

The new records reveal that the database will be capable of processing 55,000 direct photo enrollments daily and of conducting tens of thousands of searches every day.

The new system also link criminal and non-criminal fingerprint databases.

Every record—whether criminal or non—will have a Universal Control Number (UCN), and every search will be run against all records in the database.


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