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FBI is developing tattoo recognition software

Posted on Saturday, 4 June, 2016 | Comment icon 25 comments

Can a CCTV camera track your tattoo ? Image Credit: PD - Federal Bureau of Investigation
Authorities in the US are working on a way to track and identify criminals by recognizing their tattoos.
The new system, which has attracted a great deal of criticism from privacy groups, will use special computer algorithms to analyze a tattoo and attempt to link it to a specific person.

Described as being a way to "promote and refine automated tattoo recognition technology", the programme has so far collected over 15,000 images of tattoos and is set to obtain 100,000 more from people who have either been arrested or are currently in prison.

The experiment has come under major fire following an investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) - an online liberties group - who claim that tattoos should be considered a "free speech that we wear on our skin" and that attempts to track them through electronic means represents a potential infringement of the First Amendment.

Further concerns have also been raised over the fact that, in addition to tracking criminals, the programme is also aiming to "improve technology that can map connections between people with similarly themed tattoos or make inferences about people from their tattoos."

It remains unclear whether the technology will ever actually be used as part of any official criminal investigations, but in the meantime it demonstrates just how far technology has come and how something as simple as a tattoo can now be used to track someone wherever they might be.

Source: | Comments (25)

Tags: FBI, Tattoos

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by F3SS on 5 June, 2016, 23:42
Sorry about the first part of your post. Sounds like a fubar situation though I fail to see the relation to this topic or my post. As for the second part, noting identifying body marks are part of getting booked. I wouldn't know. However, in either case your tattoos weren't recorded into a database when you got them nor were they a factor in getting you arrested. Firstly, one would have to both match a similar physical deion along with similar tattoo placement and style for a mistake to be made. I really don't see a big deal.
Comment icon #17 Posted by pallidin on 6 June, 2016, 0:05
It's just a more rapid ID thing. Tat's are specific to the human in varying ways. Sometimes a victim iscut-up, riddled with bullets, blown apart, etc. It's just an additional forensic ID tool, nothing more.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Nnicolette on 6 June, 2016, 0:33
My point is this is not a new procedure. If you dont see the correlation because i threw in my own personal story then that is irrelevant to me. I have a million stories and itshow i relate to things
Comment icon #19 Posted by Nnicolette on 6 June, 2016, 0:43
To me, having been bookedbefore, especially when dismissed for it clearly being bs, is not the same as being a wanted criminal as quoted.
Comment icon #20 Posted by F3SS on 6 June, 2016, 0:43
I didn't discredit anything you said. I believe you. I know they've filed your tats cause you got booked. What did not happen is that your tattoos were the reason you were arrested in either case you stated and your tattoos weren't recorded into a database when you got them.That is all. If they were then you've left out that part of the story. And yes, suspected people are often decribed for the tattoos they have. Nobody thinks otherwise. Your beef seems to be that you've been arrested and that you have tattoos. How many other women in your area would you think fit all of your physical deions... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Nnicolette on 6 June, 2016, 0:49
Well for one no woman fits my deion because they dont compare and i dont think you are following where the discrepency is. You say there was no database, but the police who take the photgraphs say 'this is just for our indentitydatabase' please try reading what i am saying before telling me what i have beef about. Also i didnt say i got arrested for my tattoos. I think you are making up a lot of extra scenarios because perhaps my argumentative nature irritates you or something but you are putting a whole lotta extra words in my mouth just to have something else to disagree with.
Comment icon #22 Posted by pallidin on 6 June, 2016, 0:59
Nic, I also don't get it. Let's say that your daughter was violently raped, and all the authorities have to go on is tats described to the investigators from the victim (your daughter) Would that not be a reasonable investigative concern?
Comment icon #23 Posted by Nnicolette on 6 June, 2016, 1:16
@pallidin Well yeah its what this database is for. I don't quite follow what you don't get though. I said it already existed fordecadesand he saidit didnt. And that he has no knowledge of the subject but wants to act as if im a liar to suit whatever preconception he has as is prevailant on this site. Im not sure if there was much else in there to get. Personally i believe the multiple officers that explained what they do with the pictures over him, he sounds clueless.
Comment icon #24 Posted by F3SS on 6 June, 2016, 2:31
Nic, lay off the blunts. You're arguing with the voices in your head. This thread is about tattoo recognition software. I never said you lied about anything and didn't tell you what your beef was. I asked. I didn't say your tests weren't in adatabase. I've said tats aren't registered into a database when you get one. Now I don't think you understand this thread. Since you've been arrested you just might find yourself in this library of files that this new software scans for matches but unless you're involved in a future criminal action where your tats are exposed and caught on camera I doubt ... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by highdesert50 on 6 June, 2016, 13:04
Inked tattoos are a conspicuous method of bringing attention to self. And, if one wishes to bring attention to self, it is inevitable that the permanent tattoo becomes the focal point for identification. Maybe the next generation will go back to the back-painting fad of the 1920s. At least it was removable.

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