After we read through the Advisory Board documents, we quickly sent Open Records requests to several of the states involved in the pilot program. The documents we received from Maryland and Hawaii further flesh out the story. For example, the Memorandum of Understanding MOU between Hawaii and the FBI shows that the government is building NGI to “permit photo submissions independent of arrests.” This is a problem because, the FBI has stated it wants to use its facial recognition system to “identify subjects in public datasets” and “conduct automated surveillance at lookout locations” p.5. This suggests the FBI wants to be able to search and identify people in photos of crowds and in pictures posted on social media sites—even if the people in those photos haven’t been arrested for or even suspected of a crime. The FBI may also want to incorporate those crowd or social media photos into its face recognition database.
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