Before You Upload Your Next Picture To Your Social Network, Read This:

June 1, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin

nsa-facial-recognition

The NSA says (regarding identity intelligence), Image Is Everything.

Before you upload the next picture to your social network, consider the following…

Today the New York Times reports “The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.”

“The agency intercepts “millions of images per day”


 
— including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” (per day) — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to newly released documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden.

The N.S.A. now considers facial images, fingerprints and other identifiers just as important to its overall mission of tracking.

The NSA said in one document,

“It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after: It’s taking a full-arsenal approach that digitally exploits the clues a target leaves behind in their regular activities on the net to compile biographic and biometric information” that can help “implement precision targeting,”

The agency has developed sophisticated ways to integrate facial recognition programs with a wide range of other databases. It intercepts video teleconferences to obtain facial imagery, gathers airline passenger data and collects photographs from national identity card databases and other places.

Civil-liberties advocates and other critics are concerned that the power of the improving technology, used by government and industry, could erode privacy.

“Facial recognition can be very invasive,” said Alessandro Acquisti, a researcher on facial recognition technology at Carnegie Mellon University.

“There are still technical limitations on it, but the computational power keeps growing, and the databases keep growing, and the algorithms keep improving.”

-NYT

 
Here is the private data architecture which the NSA is using:
(Publicly available in documents obtained below via NYT)

Biometric-Biologic data

Showing an individual’s physical traits: face, iris, fingerprints, voice, gait.

More examples of this data include:

Familial
Volitional
Individual
Sex
Height
eat signature
Genetic Markers
Voiceprint
Blood group
Language
Ritual scarification
Recreational drug
Medical devices
Footprint
Hair chemical profile
Race
Motile
Handwriting
Typing
Gait
Limp

 

Biographic data

Documents an individual’s life history: name, DOB, address, school, military.

More examples of this data include:

Core Personal
Addresses
Educational
Employment
Judicial
Military Service
Family
Acquired Traits
Spouse
Children
Cohabitants
Employees
Servants
Guests

 

Contextual-Behavioral data

Captures an individual’s interactions with the external world: travel, financial behaviors, social network.

More examples of this data include:

Financial
Public Records
Licenses
Personal Pattern
Commercial Transaction
Media Consumption/Production
Associates
Political Donations
Property
License Plates
Vehicle VINs
Tastes/Preferences
Accounts records
ATM Usage/Transactions
Tax Records
Credit Ratings

 
The full NSA slideshow, courtesy of the NYT:

 

 
DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE YOU’RE IN THE LAND OF THE ‘FREE’?