Are Tattoos the next fingerprints?
According to a recent United States Federal Bureau of Information (FBI) request for information, the Biometric Center Of Excellence (BCOE ) is seeking information and/or technology related to the compiling of a database related to using tattoos as a way to biometrically identify potential suspects.
The attempt by BCOE to compile a comprehensive tattoo database is part of a major FBI push to expand their biometric recognition capabilities beyond the fingerprint matching and facial recognition. In addition to the attempt to match specific tattoos to individuals, the RFI also seems to indicate that the FBI is attempting to use tattoos for profiling purposes by matching certain symbols, words, and color patterns to various hate groups, militias, and gangs. In fact, this type of database is already being used on a small scale at border crossings and there have also been some reported cases of immigrants being denied residency because they had tattoos that represent known gangs or hate groups.
Similar RFIs have indicated the FBI is also looking to roll out similar databases for marks like scars and birthmarks that have a low chance of being the same from person to person. Ideally, these databases could match the marks to a specific individual within the database simply by capturing an image of the perpetrator, like from a bank camera during a robbery.
With the FBI looking to roll this program out on a full scale by the summer of 2014, we have to ask, do you think tattoos should be treated like fingerprints, or is profiling based on a person’s expression through body art a step too far? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below!
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