Tracking tattoos: A new frontier for FBI

A research undertaken by Electronic Frontier Foundation has many civil liberty groups and human rights and privacy groups fuming in USA.


FBI has teamed with government scientists to develop a technology that can help track the people with tattoos. Initially FBI created a database of about 15,000 images of tattoo images to create a recognition algorithm.A research undertaken by Electronic Frontier Foundation helped uncover the arrangement and now has many civil liberty groups and human rights and privacy groups fuming in USA.

FBI has been working on this technology since 2014 in conjunction with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) to work on the tattoo recognition system which has lead to concerns on the counter measures and checks kept regarding the private data being kept by the government associated to people.

The privacy groups maintain that this technology may lead to a form of much degraded profiling system which will be based on "affiliation to gangs, subcultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology" which FBI is defending along the lines of the tattoo's "contain(ing) intelligence;messages,meanings and motivation". This profiling may undermine the freedom of expression, religious freedom and the right to associate.

Another cause of worry as reported by TechCrunch is the fact that many of the images collected in the first wave were from prisoners instead of general stock images off the internet or through legitimate ways like contacting the local tattoo parlors or outlets on the designs. The part of the concern  added is the way, the first wave of images was handed to third-party contractors without any or little restriction on how the images could be used while "treating inmates as a bottomless pool of free data." as pointed on The Verge.

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