Halt the Deployment of the FBI’s Facial Recognition Program

Target: President Barack Obama, members of US Congress

Goal: Halt the already underway deployment of the FBI’s nationwide facial recognition system

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently deploying nationally what it calls its Next Generation Identification program. The initiative is a replacement of the national fingerprint database, and it will combine facial recognition (or biometrics) with iris scans, voice identification and DNA analysis, which will all tie in to the already existing FBI database of mugshots and other information on known criminals. The idea is to set up cameras in cities across the country to try and spot persons of interest by pooling all of these resources together–all in the name of “anti-terrorism”.

The United States is not under imminent threat of attack by anyone, and such heavy handed tactics employed to stop so-called “terrorists” is quite baffling. The average citizens of this country are not clamoring for such a program to be installed, and yet it’s being rushed into service; which can only mean that special interests want it to happen.

Even if the FBI uses this program for only tracking “terrorists” (a term that should be clearly defined in this country before such a system designed to target them is employed nationwide) innocent Americans will be victim to unwarranted surveillance. Their goal is to achieve “automated surveillance at lookout locations”, as well as “tracking subject movements”. This means that these cameras will be on 24/7 scanning public places for “terrorists”,  and they will no doubt encompass the routes of average citizens, who would then be unnecessarily observed and recorded. Another disturbing issue is the idea of what makes a person a subject of observation. This is, of course, not publicly qualified by the FBI; and so this system gives them license to observe whomever they choose without ever disclosing whether or not the observation is legitimate.

Our government seems so concerned with capturing “terrorists” that they have lost sight of their duty to abide by the Constitution and not violate our rights in the name of “anti-terrorism”. Something that has such unprecedented potential to infringe on individual privacy in this country should not be deployed, or even considered, without public consent. We need our elected officials to halt this program until it can be proven that such a system is even necessary to protect American citizens from the threat of “terrorist” actions. We need oversight of overseers if the overseers want this level of oversight to be placed in their hands; anything less will breed corruption. Act before it is too late: tell your government to halt this unnecessary program.


Dear President Obama and members of Congress,

As citizens of this country we are more than concerned by the efforts of the FBI to deploy a nationwide identification system. This is all to be done in the name of anti-terrorism, as if this country is facing such a threat from hostile forces living domestically that we need a 24-hour surveillance system monitoring everything in every city across this country. It has been over 10 years since the September 11th attack, and there hasn’t been so much as a pipe-bombing done domestically in Al-Qaeda’s name since then. Clearly the current system is getting the job done, and this effort to increase surveillance and monitoring of public places exponentially seems like nothing more than a power grab.

Any thought of deploying such a system as this should not be done without first ensuring strict oversight governing those in charge of surveillance, yet this was not done. Any system with this much power to infringe on personal privacy should not be proposed with out public approval, and yet most Americans are ignorant that this system even exists. We call on you as our representatives to halt this system; the people of America certainly don’t want or need it. It is your duty to protect liberty before all else.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit by cliff1066 via Flickr

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