Watchdog says FBI has access to about 640M photographs

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photos, including driver’s license pictures and mugshots, which could be used in facial recognition searches.

That’s according to the Government Accountability Office’s Gretta Goodwin, who testified Tuesday at a House hearing on the government’s use of facial recognition.

The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans.

Kimberly Del Greco, an FBI deputy assistant director, says the FBI has a database of mugshots to help state and local law enforcement. She says the FBI also has contracts with 21 states, allowing photos to be compared to state databases.

The bureau also has access to passport photos.

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