Civil rights and privacy watchdogs have criticized the program for its invasive—and inaccurate—tactics. The system, a billion-dollar investment that has been in development with Lockheed Martin for three years, was found to identify the wrong individual 20 percent of the time, a statistic which increases over time and as the database expands, the Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered. Another report obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) found that the system had an 85 percent success ratewhen searches were made among clear, front-facing images with no obstructions.
By compiling mugshots and DMV photos in the same database, the bureau risks identifying citizens with no records as potential criminal suspects, EFF said, adding, “This is not how our system of justice was designed and should not be a system that Americans tacitly consent to move towards.”
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota), former chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, said at a July 2012 congressional hearing on the facial recognition program that it “could be abused to not only identify protesters at political events and rallies, but to target them for selective jailing and prosecution.”