State ID databases and facial-recognition technology are being used by the police as a tool in the fight crime, according to the Washington Post. The news comes just a week after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the agency’s secret Prism project
How much power the law agency has over a U.S. citizen’s image differs from state to state, but only 13 states do not use facial-recognition systems for driver’s license photos. Of the remaining 37 states, the police forces in 26 of them have the legal right to either search or to request the right to search the database.
While the revelations will have privacy campaigners worried, Scott McCall, head of the facial-recognition unit in Pinellas County, Fla. says all the technology leads to are additional leads for police, rather than a straight identification.
“This is a tool to benefit law enforcement, not to violate your privacy rights,” says McCall.
In 2012, the FBI got $1 billion to develop its Next Generation Identification system, which is rolling it out across the U.S. Agents will be able to match mugshots to faces in crowd photos, as well as use closed-circuit television images against its criminal database.