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EPIC presses FBI for access to biometric database

Wants to see database with biometric details on millions of Americans
Tue Apr 09 2013, 13:57

INFORMATION SECURITY RESEARCH GROUP the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has pressed the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for access to its database of US citizens' biometric data.

EPIC already tried to get access twice last September, and now it is trying again. It said that it has sent repeated freedom of information act requests regarding the database, and that the FBI has failed to respond. Now it has filed a lawsuit for access (PDF).

It warned that the Next Generation Identification system (NGI) is a massive database that "when completed, [will] be the largest biometric database in the world".

The NGI will use CCTV systems and facial recognition, and it includes DNA profiles, iris scans, palm prints, voice identification profiles, photographs, and other "identifying information".

The FBI has an information page about the NGI, and there it said that photographs of tattoos are also included and that the system is designed to speed up suspect detection and response times.

"The NGI system will offer state-of-the-art biometric identification services and provide a flexible framework of core capabilities that will serve as a platform for multimodal functionality," it said.

"The NGI Program Office mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology".

In its lawsuit EPIC said that the NGI database will be used for non law enforcement purposes and will be made available to "private entities".

EPIC said that it has asked the FBI to provide information including "contracts with commercial entities and technical specifications".

It said that so far it has received no information from the FBI in response to its requests. µ


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