In all probability, the feds already have your face in a database, which they can scan using facial-recognition software.
A new Georgetown report says there are 117 million Americans in the database. That’s about 50 percent of the population.
The FBI has been building this database up over the years; a task made easier by the nearly ubiquitous presence of cameras and the fact that the FBI can legally use the software to search databases of drivers license photos in at least 26 states. And of course, there are the passport photos as well, all of which go into the database.
So much progress has been made in refining FR software in recent years that retinal scans are really the only biometric identification systems that beat it. But like fingerprinting, retinal scans require the agency to actually have you in hand in order to gather those biometrics. With FR, that's not essential; they can just have the system scan the database of photos until they get a match to identify you.
This is another reason why I use the low-tech method of sticking a strip of post-it note paper over the cameras built into my laptops and notebooks; it's easy to activate those remotely and without your knowledge. I'm not exactly a hardened criminal, so I don't have much to worry about on that score - but that's hardly the point. I just prefer privacy. It's one thing to enter a store or a bank where you know you're on camera, but another when one turns on in your home.
We haven't yet hit the nightmare world of George Orwell, but we're closing in on it quickly.