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Feds want to apply face recognition, data analysis to transnational gangs



U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials are seeking quotes for a cloud-based, biometric facial recognition application that can help federal law enforcement officials “identify, track, disrupt and dismantle” transnational gangs operating in and around Washington D.C.

The software would be based the Gang Intelligence Application, a government database originally built to defeat transnational gangs operating in and near Pennsylvania.

The request mandates that the application be integrated with something called the Noblis Horus facial recognition system so that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers can more easily identify gangs, cliques and individual gang members and understand their relationships with others in gangs.

The Gang Intelligence App was developed by Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, intelligence officials to help law enforcement agencies at all levels share a database of gang information from that region.

Homeland Security officials want the chosen vendor to compartmentalize information specific to their needs, and to give Homeland Security control over who (including other law agencies) can access the set-aside data.

The vendor must build tools that collect, analyze and disseminate relevant data about gangs and crime investigations. The tools also have to curate data including social-media posts, videos, audio files, photographs and facial recognition templates.

In addition, the government wants to be able to see links between people and gangs, significant locations and relevant criminal justice personnel, weapons and vehicles, and important events, such as incarceration dates.

Any application chosen would have to manage the data, including three- and five-year retention cycles, depending on state and federal rules. And, ultimately, the application must be migrated to GovCloud, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services.

DHS is also proposing a new system for the administration of its biometric records, which would include exempting portions of the records from Privacy Act requirements.

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