The FBI already holds profiles of around half of all US citizens in a database, despite face recognition being neither well justified nor particularly effective, as revealed by an official hearing.
The federal authorities have procured the majority of photos without any investigative grounds. Only about 20 percent of them come from the law enforcement authorities. In 18 US states the FBI is already obtaining photos from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and is seeking to conclude equivalent agreements with other federal states. Congressmen and civil-rights activists strongly criticized this practice at the hearing in the US House of Representatives on March 22 .
The congressmen also criticized the FBI for using face recognition technology for several years now without – as stipulated by law – submitting any report on the impact of this technology on the privacy of individuals. The law enforcement officials were also accused of working with relatively unreliable software. The system used, MorphoTrust , is said to frequently misidentify women and African-Americans, for example. The congressmen speculated that such errors could incite racial prejudice.