Nextgov reports: A federal judge has ruled that the FBI’s futuristic facial-recognition database is deserving of scrutiny from open-government advocates because of the size and scope of the surveillance technology.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said the bureau’s Next Generation Identification program represents a “significant public interest” due to concerns regarding its potential impact on privacy rights and should be subject to rigorous transparency oversight.
“There can be little dispute that the general public has a genuine, tangible interest in a system designed to store and manipulate significant quantities of its own biometric data, particularly given the great numbers of people from whom such data will be gathered,” Chutkan wrote in an opinion released late Wednesday.
Her ruling validated a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center that last year made a 2010 government report on the database public and awarded the group nearly $20,000 in attorneys’ fees. That government report revealed the FBI’s facial-recognition technology could fail up to 20 percent of the time. Privacy groups believe that failure rate may be even higher, as a search can be considered successful if the correct suspect is listed within the top 50 candidates. [Continue reading…]