FBI planning to categorize people by their tattoos
Recently the EFF has been filing public records requests around the United States in an attempt to reveal how law enforcement agencies are using mobile bio-metric technology to identify people based on their physical and behavioral characteristics. It was during this investigation that they uncovered that NIST, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, had been refining automated tattoo recognition technology for the FBI.
It is important to know however that the FBI’s plans for automated tattoo recognition is much broader than developing algorithms that can identify people by their tattoos. We know this as the experiments run by NIST also focused on improving technology that can map connections between people with similarly themed tattoos (e.g. political ideology and religious beliefs).
Traditionally, police have used physical means to undergo this type of work. This being by having physical photos and documents. Law enforcement is now pursuing mobile devices and apps, for this means. Due to recent advances, current algorithms are able to match tattoos with greater than 90% accuracy. However, algorithms that can accurately connect people based on their tattoos are still in their early days.