The Federal Bureau of Investigations announced recently that it is dedicating up to $1 billion for a Lockheed Martin-developed system that will enable on-the-fly analysis of detailed identification information that can be instantaneously shared with law enforcement all around the world.
It's called the "Next Generation Identification System" (NGIS), and if you're a fan of television dramas like the CBS crime drama NCIS, it may sound pretty familiar.
The FBI says their forthcoming system is an "incremental" upgrade to their currently-existing "Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System" (IAFIS), but it's more than just an upgrade: it's a revolution in law enforcement technology that's bound to draw comparisons to the "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) project Congress ostensibly shut down in 2004.
The TIA project, however, was broader in scope, targeting private individuals all over the world instead of just suspected criminals or terrorists.
While the initial stage of NGIS deals solely with fingerprints, the FBI said it will eventually upscale to include detailed biometrics like retina prints, facial mapping, palm prints, voice mapping and handwriting analysis, among other likely sources of data.
"[NGIS] represents a quantum leap in fingerprint identification that will help us in solving investigations, preventing crime, and apprehending criminals and terrorists," an agency spokesman announced earlier this month.
One aspect of the program that's likely to draw a sharp reacting from civil liberties advocates is the provision of electronic fingerprint scanners to state and local police agencies.
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