The database, dubbed the Next Generation Identification system or NGI, was first designed to replace the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. As stated in the FBI press release from September 15, 2014, NGI has now expanded to include “new services and capabilities” to increase the FBI’s biometric identification capabilities.
Phase one of NGI introduced enhanced automated fingerprinting and was activated in 2011. The latest announcement stated NGI has “full operational capability” which will eventually grow to include iris scans, facial recognition, and other biometric identifiers.
The billion-dollar program was designed and developed by Lockheed Martin, the American defense technology conglomerate that was pivotal in the development of the unmanned aircraft drones.
The purpose of NGI is to be an “investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities,” states the FBI press release. But several privacy activist groups are concerned because of non-criminal photos being stored in NGI’s database.