NSA Collecting Data on Millions of Faces

According documents released by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency has been collecting images of millions of faces and operating global surveillance programs focused on facial recognition. The NSA apparently intercepts 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” per day. Over the last four years, the agency has shifted from relying on written and oral communication to depending more on facial images, fingerprints, and biometric markers. From driver's licenses to Facebook photos, officials are increasingly harvesting images and relying on facial imagery databases. Prior to the release of these documents, the extent of the NSA's facial imagery data collection was unknown. Agency spokeswoman Vanee M. Vines simply responding to these new revelations by saying, “We would not be doing our job if we didn’t seek ways to continuously improve the precision of signals intelligence activities — aiming to counteract the efforts of valid foreign intelligence targets to disguise themselves or conceal plans to harm the United States and its allies.”