Could the FBI See Your Selfies?

Court case may enable FBI to request more photos for new facial recognition database.

Investigative Database - FBI Can See Your Selfies?

Investigative Database – FBI Can See Your Selfies?

The FBI could have 52 million face images on file by 2015, according to new research.

Article Courtesy of:  U.S News – By 

U.S. News & World Report

The FBI is preparing to launch a facial recognition database this summer that includes photos of people without criminal records- and a court case in New York may expand the ability of the government to request data from Facebook to help.

The bureau’s database, called the Next Generation Identification system, or NGI, builds upon the government’s fingerprint database and is slated to be operational this summer, according to the FBI.

This database will contain photos of anybody who sends images as part of an application for a job that requires fingerprinting or a background check – even if that person has no criminal record – according to research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy advocacy organization. The FBI is slated to have 52 million face images by 2015, according to the EFF.

Facebook, by comparison, processes more than 350 million new images each day from its 1.28 billion monthly active users. The social network’s friends lists and group pages also make it easier for the company to narrow down possible results when helping customers tag photos using facial recognition.

Facebook’s DeepFace facial recognition system has a 97 percent level of efficiency, which any government surveillance network would envy.

That’s even better than the FBI’s new system, which so far promises an 85 percent chance of identifying a suspect from a photo, according to the EFF.

The social network is appealing a court case from 2013 that might allow the FBI the chance to request some of the facial recognition information as it uses biometrics to follow targets.

Last year a New York judge ordered Facebook to turn over nearly all of the social network’s account data on 381 people, including pages they liked, their messages – and perhaps most dangerously – their photos. Facebook is arguing this broad use of warrants for data requests violates the Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable searches by the government. The warrants led to 62 charges in a disability fraud case but the government may keep the seized data indefinitely.

“Facebook says its face recognition system uses…”

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Can your boss demand Social Media passwords?

Bill amendment would let bosses demand Facebook passwords during investigations in Washington state

Article Courtesy of:  Associated Press
Article Courtesy of: The Associated Press

SEATTLE — A bill amendment proposed Tuesday could allow employers to ask for a worker’s Facebook or other social media password during company investigations.

The provision was proposed for a bill that safeguards social network passwords of workers and job applicants. The measure bars employers from asking for social media credentials during job interviews.

The amendment was introduced at the House Labor Committee at the request of business groups.

The Associated Press reported last year that some employers around the country were asking applicants for their social media information.

In 2012 and this year, seven states banned employers from asking job applicants and employees for their social network passwords, with some exceptions.

Another 33 states are considering similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proponents say that the original bill would open an avenue for possible illegal activity by employees, such as divulging proprietary or consumer information to outsiders through social networks.

The amendment says that an employer conducting an investigation may require or demand access to a personal account if an employee or prospective employee has allegations of work-place misconduct or giving away an employer’s proprietary information. The amendment would require an investigation to ensure compliance with applicable laws or regulatory requirements.

Under the amendment, employees would be present when their social network profiles are searched and whatever information found is kept confidential, unless it is relevant to a criminal investigation.

“Rather than just referring everything to law enforcement, we have the opportunity to work with the employee and to investigate,” said Denny Eliason, who is representing the banking industry.

He said his clients have had cases where employees transferred sensitive information via email. He was not sure if Facebook or other social networks have been used.

Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures says similar bills being considered around the country have similar provisions allowing for disclosure of passwords during investigations.

California’s law allows “requests” of passwords during investigations. But Washington amendment goes beyond that, said Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based online privacy advocacy group.

This amendment “says they have a right to enter your digital home,” Maass said. “It’s astounding that they would try to codify this and that all employers could do this… the national trend is to move away from this. It’s shocking that the amendment is going in the right opposite direction.”

Maass said it’s not only an employee’s privacy that is violated, but also those he has connections with in a social network site.

The amendment “would turn this bill into a privacy bill into an employer fishing expedition,” said Shankar Narayan of the Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s the not the bill we signed up for.”

The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, said Tuesday that he had not read the amendment, but he was aware of concerns from high-tech industries.