Washington, D.C. -
The FBI recently put out a request for information, RFI, to police departments nationwide, along with vendors and other security and industry professionals asking them to submit pictures of anyone they have encountered that has a tattoo.
The request is part of the FBI's program already underway to catalog biometric information on as m any people as possible and will be added to its iris and facial recognition database along with existing fingerprint.
Last Friday the RFI was issued reading: “containing tattoo/symbol images, their possible meanings, gang affiliations, terrorist groups or other criminal organizations.”
The FBI said they are studying if tattoo's can be used in identifying people and are studying a program for that.
The RFI makes no distinction between only those convicted of a crime or felony, and those who have never been arrested, but have had this type of information cataloged, such as for getting a passport, background checks for public and private employers etc..
The mass collection of multiple biometric markers, potentially including vocal tracks and handwriting samples has resulted in civil rights groups, privacy groups and immigration supporters to cry foul, arguing that such a database is already being misused and will lead to further unnecessary invasions of privacy for ordinary citizens not accused of a crime or under investigation lawfully.
Some immigration supporters say that the DHS and ICE have already used tattoo information to determine who they chase down, who gets deported and who gets a green card.
In one high profile case, a man was turned down because immigration officials felt his tattoo too similar to a gang tattoo. The man had no known gang ties or affiliations, has never been arrested or convicted of anything both in the U.S. and his birth country.