Watchdog Group is Suing the FBI Over Surveillance Program

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RT.com is reporting that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy watchdog group is suing the FBI over the agency’s failure to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requests.

For more than a year and a half, EPIC has been waiting for the FBI to deliver the legally-requested documents pertaining to the “Next Generation Identification,” or NGI, program, which is a regarded as a secretive government program that apparently has the capability to track down anyone, anywhere, at any time.

EPIC claims that the database pulls personal information from both public and private surveillance databases, and also incorporates the controversial Trapwire system, which can literally pinpoint someones exact location by simultaneously scanning individuals’ faces on any networked video and audio security surveillance system across the country, in real-time.

So what kind of information can be found in a persons’ NGI file?  Well, aside from all of your basic public, criminal and health records, the database will also compile DNA / facial recognition image profiles, palm prints, iris scans, behavior patterns such as style of walk, and some even speculate audio voice-analysis.

The FBI first publicly disclosed their NGI program nearly a decade ago, but have been tight-lipped about it ever since.  When asked about the program in 2012, the agency said it will be “bigger, faster and better” than the now-standard Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), and said, at the time, that the database was more than 60% complete.  Once the program is at 100%, it’s speculated that it could take only a matter of 10 minutes to narrow in on a suspect.

Some might see NGI as an amazing technological breakthrough and enhancement of law enforcement capabilities, but EPIC feels the program is dangerous because it allows our government to compile video, audio, and biometric data on people who “are neither criminals nor suspects,” which they claim is an invasion of privacy.

EPIC hoped that by using the Freedom of Information Act, they would gain more clarity about the details and purpose of the NGI program.  But due to the FBI’s silence, EPIC has decided to move forward with their lawsuit.

Check back with NCAVF to keep up on all news related to forensic video and audio.

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