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NSA building global identity database from intercepted images, new Snowden documents reveal

John E Dunn | June 4, 2014
The NSA is processing millions of facial images from intercepted communications as part of a program to build a global identity database of persons of interest, documents from the Edward Snowden cache seen by the New York Times have revealed.

The legitimate concern isn't that the NSA cares about every picture of a person with their pet cat - these are after all deliberately made public - but that they are now building a system capable of relating that image to every other one of the same person, including those gathered officially.

Given that the NSA is said to be using commercial technology, a good guess as to its future capabilities will be what is possible in that sector. A good example of what is now possible is a forensic system from NetClean, which recently diversifiedfrom spotting Internet child porn into general policing tool able to do some of what the NSA appears to have been investigating.

In conclusion, it isn't just the NSA that is looking into image collection ana analysis; many police forces are now doing the same and there will be no holding this back.

 

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