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FBI to spend $1 billion on next generation biometrics


According to the New Scientist, as part of a US$1 billion update to the national fingerprint database in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun rolling out facial recognition to identify criminals.

As BiometricUpdate.com recently reported, the bureau has made facial recognition tools available to local law enforcement agencies across the United States through a pilot project. The plan is for the FBI to implement the system nationwide by 2014.

The effort is part of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification program. The program is designed to advance the bureau’s biometric identification services, providing an incremental replacement of its current integrated automated fingerprint identification capabilities with a multi-modal biometric database.

According to the FBI, the future of identification systems is currently progressing beyond the dependency on a uni-modal, fingerprint biometric identifier towards multi-modal biometrics, which includes voice, iris and facial recognition.

The Next Generation Identification program will be therefore designed to advance the integration strategies and indexing of additional biometric data that will provide the framework for a future multi-modal system that will facilitate biometric fusion identification techniques.

The framework will be expandable, scalable, and flexible to accommodate new technologies and biometric standards, and will be interoperable with existing systems. Once developed and implemented, the new FBI biometric initiatives and multi-modal functionality will promote a high level of information sharing, support interoperability, and provide a foundation for using multiple biometrics for positive identification.

The existing database currently consists of iris scans and DNA samples, but as BiometricUpdate.com also recently reported the newly updated database will also contain tattoos.

Another proposed element of an updated database includes a image matching service. Under such a service, images of a person of interest from security cameras or photos accessed from sources such as the Internet could be compared against a national repository of images held by the FBI.

The FBI will also expand its capability to accept, store, and search palm print submissions from local, state, and federal law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The bureau’s new system will provide a centralized repository for palm print data that can be accessed nationwide, providing local police with an additional tool to solve crimes.

The objective of the program is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology that would be made widely available to local law enforcement agencies.

Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions will undertake implementation of the project. The multi-million dollar contract, which was awarded after a full and open competition, will consist of a base year and the potential for up to nine option years. A roster of other contractors will also augment the project.

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