FBI has been trying to explore multiple ways of finding out terrorists and crooks. Now, it seems to have come up with a rather unique idea which, sadly, seems flawed at the same time. The agency is trying to establish a database of popular tattoos so that it can read the tattoos worn by people.
Often, gangs and similar criminal groups have common tattoos. All members of such a gang then normally wear that tattoo. Now, if FBI had a record of such tattoos and is able to recognize a person wearing a gangs’ tattoo, it can help the agency find criminals.
The agency has requested for information on databases ‘containing tattoo/symbol images, their possible meanings, gang affiliations, terrorist groups or other criminal organizations.’
But the big question is, how reliable is this system? Someone may as well wear a gang tattoo simply for fun or without having the wildest idea of where the tattoo comes from. Recently, US government refused green cards to the spouses of permanent U.S. residents simply because their tattoos resembled gang symbols. This has instigated a debate as to how reliable this new security feature from FBI is.
FBI is also trying to find out better tattoo analysis systems. Whereas such systems may indeed help FBI understand tattoos better, FBI can pinpoint criminals through tattoos is the absurdest thing to say. And if FBI does indeed start relying merely on symbols to catch criminals, that sounds like an Orwellian nightmare. Security can not be enforced through a single feature and must be reliant on a number of other measures.