DHS developing facial-scanning technology for police
The testing of the technology is still in "early stages" and isn't expected to be ready for several years
The Department of Homeland Security is testing surveillance technology that could someday allow law enforcement to scan crowds with video cameras and ID people by their faces -- in another advancement that could raise major privacy concerns.
The department for years has faced challenges to its screening procedures at U.S. airports, which have been criticized as invasive. Intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency are separately trying to assure the public that their surveillance of Internet activity and phone calls respects privacy rights as well. The prospect of numerous law enforcement agencies having access to a facial-screening system is raising a new set of privacy questions.
The official said the facial-recognition technology, a program called Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS), was funded by Congress and originally run under the Pentagon. It was later transferred over to them for testing "to determine its effectiveness and suitability for the deployment by state and local law enforcement partners."