On the cusp of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is rolling out a next-generation "Big Brother" monitoring system.
But this early, the FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) system has raised concerns among some privacy advocates, tech site PC World reported.
"NGI is designed to integrate with surveillance camera systems across the country. An algorithm will be used to automatically scan surveillance video and compare faces to criminal mugshots to alert authorities when wanted suspects are identified. The FBI database will also have the ability to identify unique scars or tattoos on potential suspects," PC World said.
It said this system will allow the FBI to identify and monitor “persons of interest” virtually anywhere.
The system will not just rely on fingerprints but also on voice recognition, iris and retina scan data, facial recognition, and DNA analysis.
PC World noted many computers and consumer devices now use biometric features to authenticate users, with some computers sporting fingerprint scanners.
"A system like NGI is a double-edged sword. Most people would agree that a system that helps law enforcement locate and identify suspects and known criminals more efficiently is a good thing. However, the law abiding citizens of the United States are generally opposed to having the government monitor their every move," it said.
But the report said privacy advocates voiced concern about a “Big Brother” nationwide automated spy system.
The concern stems from the possible abuse of the system or unauthorized users hacking in and getting access to private data.
Earlier this year, social networking giant Facebook was criticized for its facial recognition technology, that it may be abused for purposes such as to identify protesters or participants of political rallies.
"The trick is finding a balance that helps the FBI or other agencies use technology to work more effectively, without infringing on the privacy or Constitutional rights of average citizens at the same time," PC World said. — TJD, GMA News