Smile for the FBI

The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to see the FBI’s facial recognition program before the agency builds a better, faster version, so EFF asked a federal judge this week to force the FBI to expose details of the program.

EFF accused the FBI of “foot-dragging” over the group’s year-old Freedom of Information Act requests for details of the components of the face recognition program.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California Wednesday, point out that EFF has been monitoring the FBI’s work since 2011 to build the next generation of biometric database recognition, which would expand and potentially replace fingerprint identification, according to EFF.

The new program would include a host of biometric identifiers, such as iris scans, palm prints, face-recognition-ready photos and voice data to be shared with agencies across federal, state and local governments.

“Biometrics programs present critical threats to civil liberties and privacy,” according to EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch.

EFF also wants the agency to disclose the total number of face-recognition capable records currently in the FBI’s database, as well as the proposed number when it deploys the new system, currently slated for 2014, according to EFF.

Case:  EFF v. Dept. of Justice, No. C13-2946LB