- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) System is now fully operational. The powerful facial recognition program that started development in 2011 will now be accessible to various law enforcement agencies.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division announced today the achievement of full operational capability of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System,” the agency said on its website on Monday. “The FBI’s NGI System was developed to expand the Bureau’s biometric identification capabilities, ultimately replacing the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) in addition to adding new services and capabilities.”

Privacy watchdogs fear what the federal government will do with millions of civilian images that it will now be able to access. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believes that the FBI will have 4.3 million noncriminal photographs of civilians (e.g., employment identification) out of a pool of 52 million mugshots by 2015, The Wire reported Tuesday.

Two of the new services of the program are the Rap Back and the Interstate Photo System.

The Rap Back is billed as a functionality that will allow users to “receive ongoing status notifications of any criminal history reported on individuals holding positions of trust, such as schoolteachers,” the FBI said via its website.

The IPS is a facial recognition service that will give law enforcement personnel “image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities,” the FBI said.

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Business Insider reported on the new program Wednesday, saying that the facial recognition system made the NSA look “like child’s play.”

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