Searching for fugitives, the FBI is using facial-recognition technology on millions of motorists, comparing driver’s license photos with photos of convicts in a high-tech analysis of chin widths and nose sizes, reports the Associated Press. The project in North Carolina has helped find at least one suspect, and agents want to expand it nationwide. Privacy advocates worry that the method allows authorities to track people who have done nothing wrong.
“Everybody’s participating, essentially, in a virtual lineup by getting a driver’s license,” said Christopher Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union. This year, investigators learned that double-homicide suspect Rodolfo Corrales had moved to North Carolina. The FBI took a 1991 booking photo from California and compared it with 30 million photos stored by the motor vehicle agency in Raleigh. In seconds, the search returned dozens of drivers who resembled Corrales; an FBI analyst zeroed in on a man who called himself Jose Solis. After corroborating Corrales’ identity, agents arrested him near Greensboro, where they believe he had built a new life under the assumed name.