Posts tagged “Next Generation Identification

Lack of Biometric ID Might Shed Insight into Boston Bombing

In an era when a typical news cycle runs 24 to 48 hours, the mainstream media appears frustrated with the pace of the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing. Unlike many of the crime dramas portrayed on television, investigations of this nature are painstakingly methodical.

In his blog, journalist Steve Prestegard noted my belief that the improvised explosive devices used in the Boston attack were strategically placed after bomb sniffing dogs had swept the area and were not, as some media outlets speculated, left in trash receptacles.

Yesterday, the FBI released still photographs of two suspects.  By appealing to the public for assistance, it appears that investigators, up until this point, were unable to link the persons of interest through the use of facial recognition software.

Created with the technological support of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the FBI’s $1.2 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) network—a system previously tested in a handful of states—uses 3D partial facial recognition software to develop a list of up to two dozen possible suspects. Data bases containing biometric images (mathematical dimensions that measure and catalog eyes, noses, ears, and other facial features) include the new, REAL ID compatible driver’s licenses, international passports, and existing booking photos. Digital images from social networking sites can also be imported to NGI.

Here’s a hint to those who believe Boston is a “homegrown” terror attack: the lack of biometric images linking the suspect in the white ball cap to a fairly expansive data base might mean that this person has been in the country for a relatively short period of time, especially since many states, through their individual DMVs, currently obtain biometric photographs from applicants as young as 15-years-of-age.

Gun Bill Goes Down in Flames

As even casual observers of American politics can see, members of the far-left often show outright contempt for the Second Amendment. The president claims he supports gun ownership, even though reports have surfaced that, during his tenure as a law school instructor, Obama, according to some sources, made statements advocating a handgun ban.

Many believe the Obama administration used the families of Newtown victims as political props to press for restrictions on gun rights, even though the bill rejected by the U.S. Senate would have done little, if anything, to prevent the Sandy Hook School shootings. Adam Lanza, the man who perpetrated the slayings, killed his own mother and then confiscated her firearms to commit the homicides. Lanza did not purchase these guns.

Having worked in law enforcement for decades, I have spoken to several investigators who question the need for more gun laws when those already on the books are under enforced.  Empirical data strongly suggests that those who violate state and federal gun laws receive what is tantamount to a slap on the wrist. This is precisely why straw purchases—a process by which individuals prohibited from possessing firearms solicit non-prohibited persons to buy firearms for them—continue to flourish.

As I noted in an April 10 news release, conducted an extensive survey of 15,000 police officers, the vast majority of whom believe gun control might actually cause more problems than the legislation seeks to solve.

Moreover, the overall percentage of firearms’ related deaths attributed to school shootings is tragic but miniscule. Sadly, 92 percent of firearms homicides are committed with handguns, primarily in central cities. Reading the polling data, SF believes gun control measures are losing public support, as the vast majority of law abiding Americans, it appears, do not believe they should surrender their freedoms because big-city police chiefs cannot get a grip on naro-gang violence.

Take Milwaukee, for example, a city that comprises just 10.9 percent of Wisconsin’s population but, in 2010, accounted for 55 percent of the state’s homicides. Why would gun owners in Eau Claire or Green Bay concede their Second Amendment freedoms because Milwaukee, in comparison, is spiraling out-of-control?


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Google Glasses Have Law Enforcement “Giddy” at the Possibilities


When it comes to high-tech government surveillance—the electronic concentration camp New York City’s nanny-state mayor, Michael Bloomberg, revels in creating—law enforcement administrators on the lookout for ‘free federal money’ and politicians addicted to handouts in the form of campaign contributions—conveniently search for innovative ways to turn technology against the citizenry.

Recently, I have had a few matter-of-fact conversations with those who believe “Google glasses” will someday become standard equipment for police officers on patrol.

At a cost of $1,500 each, “Google Glasses” enable a wearer to shoot video, search the internet, and send e-mail via voice command.

“Each pair of glasses is fitted with a miniaturised camera and web browser which displays digital information on a tiny screen — a clear plastic block the width of a pencil — just in front and slightly above a wearer’s eye,” Daily Mail reporter Tom Leonard notes.  “The arm of the headset, which sits near the wearer’s temple, acts as a touch pad. By sliding your finger up and down it, you can scroll through the text visible in your eyepiece. To select something on the screen, the user simply taps the headset.”

Last October, found Google’s efforts to acquire the company Viewdle as “particularly interesting.”  Viewable is a facial recognition software company that “specializes in augmented reality and automatic face tagging.” In other words, if this technology is incorporated into Google Glasses, wearers could compare the faces of those they view against private sector databases, enabling them to know the identities and backgrounds of those nearby.

Behind the scenes, high-ranking federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are giddy about the possibilities of these hands-free glasses.  Imagine a scenario where a cop on the beat could simply look at an individual walking down the sidewalk and, instantly, compare that person’s image against biometrical information—computer generated software that assigns a mathematical equation to faces, ears, and noses—stored in every state’s department of motor vehicle’s data base and the FBI’s $1.2 billion Next Generation Identification system. Within a matter of seconds, information federally subsidized intelligence fusion centers purchase from private sector companies, such as ChoicePoint and Acxiom, could alert the officer to their target’s occupation, credit score, hobbies, family members, and the identifies of close personal associates.

Moreover, law enforcement envisions another scenario—the collection of faces and license plates observed by the viewer, which would then get time-stamped, geo-tagged, and stored indefinitely. When an individual becomes a suspect, a protestor, or maybe even a political opponent, government agents could access these data bases to create a timeline concerning their precise whereabouts.

One can only imagine the data just one Milwaukee police officer wearing such glasses could input by viewing a crowd at bar time on Water Street.

As I detail these types of intrusive technologies to others, many people tend to shrug their shoulders as if the say, ‘Oh, well, this is the world we live in.’ There is, however, no need to act like sheep being led to the slaughter. Call your state and federal representatives. Sure, many elected officials, especially those receiving campaign contributions from lobbyists affiliated with companies that profit by marginalizing our freedoms, might seem stand-offish. Nonetheless, they do, supposedly, work for those they purport to represent and not the members of the security-industrial complex.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Coming Soon: An Identification System that Would Make George Orwell Blush

When completed in 2014, the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) will be the world’s most advanced personal identification computer network—so vast that its capabilities will make the concepts depicted in George Orwell’s novel 1984 seem like the good old days.

Developed by defense contractor Lockheed Martin at a cost exceeding $1 billion, the system includes iris scan identifiers, biometric facial recognition software, voice recognition, palm print scans, fingerprints, keyboard stroke identifiers, and DNA analysis.

Sources say the FBI already has 13 million photographs on file to scan for biometric facial recognition. Most of these images are booking photos, although driver’s license images from states in compliance with the new Real ID law are also subject to facial recognition searches. 

Images in the public domain—those on Google, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few—might also be extracted for storage and analysis for NGI.

The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead documents the intrusive nature of NGI in a commentary entitled, Smile, the Government is Watching: Next Generation Identification


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit


© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012