FBI’s facial recognition system will combine faces of criminals and ordinary citizens

Facial recognition system data points. Picture: FBI Source: Supplied

THE FBI has launched its “next generation” facial recognition system – and the implications are terrifying.

It not only draws on a database of criminal mugshots, it searches through ordinary people too.

Anyone who has ever had a background check when applying for a job could be identified in a police hunt.

And the system is hardly infallible – a search will pull up 50 faces, with only an 85 per cent likelihood that the suspect will be on list, by the FBI’s own estimation.

The Interstate Photo System is expected to have reached 50 states by the end of the year, and have collected 52 million faces by 2015.

“This effort is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilising biometrics as an investigative enabler,” the FBI said in a statement.

And it may not be long until Australian biometrics become this far-reaching.

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