Civil Libertarians Concerned About Undisclosed FBI Research into Tattoo Recognition Technology

Yet another example of how the judicial and legislative branches are falling behind the curve in protecting American citizens from undisclosed forms of surveillance and classification was revealed in a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) published in April 2018. In EFF’s recent Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit, the organization found that the FBI is not only racing to develop facial recognition technology, but also is expanding its efforts into the area of “Tattoo Recognition,” all without informing the public or government agencies that allegedly have oversight over such activities.

According to EFF, that project was initiated in 2015 when the National Institute for Standards & Technology (“NIST”), in collaboration with the FBI, started “promoting experiments using tattoo images gathered involuntarily from prison inmates and arrestees.”

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