The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has spent close to $1 billion on a new multi-modal biometrics system for better identifying criminals developed at the FBI’s Center for Biometric Excellence, according to an Oh My Gov article. The system was developed by Lockheed Martin.
The new system, called the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, makes use of facial, iris, palm, scar and fingerprint biometric modes.
The NGI is replacing the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), but will work with the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security as well as various local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the NGI is compatible with the old IAFIS systems and expected to be compatible with multiple other U.S. biometric systems and some foreign systems.
Aside from the new system adding new modes of biometrics, it will also greatly expand the storage capacity and speed up processing times as well as have extra room for future upgrades. Among the potential future upgrades, the FBI is strongly looking at the continued improvement of gait, hand geometry, voice and footprint biometric technologies awaiting them to become reliable enough for inclusion in the NGI.
To assuage worries of the American Civil Liberties union and other privacy activist groups, the FBI has been sure to post a disclaimer that although more information will be taken from criminals for the database, the categories of people who are getting biometric information collected has not changed at all. Additionally, the FBI is now running privacy tests to see both if there are any flaws in the twice firewalled system as well as how they can share biometric information without breaking privacy rights.
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