Forget Facial Recognition: DHS’s New Database, HART, Also Uses Scars, Tattoos, and Your VOICE to ID You. And Amazon Is Storing All the Data.

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

These days, you can’t really go anywhere without encountering cameras.  Going into a store? Chances are there are security cameras. Getting money at an ATM? More cameras. Driving through the streets of a city? More cameras still. Your neighbors may have those doorbells from Amazon that are surveilling the entire neighborhood.

And many of these cameras are tied into facial recognition databases, or the footage can be quite easily compared there if “authorities” are looking for somebody.

But as it turns out, it isn’t just facial recognition we have to worry about.

DHS has a new recognition system called HART.

Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology system is the alarming new identity system being put in place by the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS is retiring its old system that was based on facial recognition. It’s being replaced with HART, a cloud-based system that holds information about the identities of hundreds of millions of people.

The new cloud-based platform, called the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, is expected to bring more processing power, new analytics capabilities and increased accuracy to the department’s biometrics operations. It will also allow the agency to look beyond the three types of biometric data it uses today—face, iris and fingerprint—to identify people through a variety of other characteristics, like palm prints, scars, tattoos, physical markings and even their voices. (source)

Incidentally, the cloud hosting for HART is being done by none other than Amazon – you know, the ones with surveillance devices like the Ring doorbell and the Alexa home assistant and the Nest home security system. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Also note that Amazon Web Services also hosts data for the CIA, the DoD, and NASA.

More about HART

As HART becomes more established, that old saying “you can run but you can’t hide” is going to seem ever more true. The DHS is delighted at how much further the new system can take them into surveilling Americans.

And by freeing the agency from the limitations of its legacy system, HART could also let officials grow the network of external partners with whom they share biometric data and analytics capabilities, according to Patrick Nemeth, director of identity operations within Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management.

“When we get to HART, we will be better, faster, stronger,” Nemeth said in an interview with Nextgov. “We’ll be relieved of a lot of the capacity issues that we have now … and then going forward from there we’ll be able to add [capabilities].” (source)

The DHS wants to break free of the limitations of the old system with their new and “improved” system. HART will use multiple pieces of biometric data to increase identification accuracy.

Today, when an official runs a person’s face, fingerprint or iris scans through IDENT’s massive database, the system doesn’t return a single result. Rather, it assembles a list of dozens of potential candidates with different levels of confidence, which a human analyst must then look through to make a final match. The system can only handle one modality at a time, so if agent is hypothetically trying to identify someone using two different datapoints, they need to assess two lists of candidates to find a single match. This isn’t a problem if the system identifies the same person as the most likely match for both fingerprint and face, for example, but because biometric identification is still an imperfect science, the results are rarely so clear cut.

However, the HART platform can include multiple datapoints in a single query, meaning it will rank potential matches based on all the information that’s available. That will not only make it easier for agents to analyze potential matches, but it will also help the agency overcome data quality issues that often plague biometric scans, Nemeth said. If the face image is pristine but the fingerprint is fuzzy, for example, the system will give the higher-quality datapoint more weight.

“We’re very hopeful that it will provide better identification surety than we can provide with any single modality today,” Nemeth said. And palm prints, scars, tattoos and other modalities are added in the years ahead, the system will be able to integrate those into its matching process. (source)

HART will also use DNA.

Remember a while back when we reported that DNA sites were teaming up with facial recognition software? Well, HART will take that unholy alliance even further.

The phase-two solicitation also lists DNA-matching as a potential application of the HART system. While the department doesn’t currently analyze DNA, officials on Wednesday announced they would start adding DNA collected from hundreds of thousands of detained migrants to the FBI’s criminal database. During the interview, Nemeth said the agency is still working through the legal implications of storing and sharing such sensitive data. It’s also unclear whether DNA information would be housed in the HART system or a separate database, he said. (source)


The DHS is operating without any type of regulation.

Currently, there’s no regulation or oversight of government agencies collecting and using this kind of data. Civil liberty activists and some lawmakers are alarmed by this, citing concerns about privacy and discrimination. This hasn’t slowed down the DHS one iota, however.

Critics have taken particular issue with the government’s tangled web of information sharing agreements, which allow data to spread far beyond the borders of the agency that collected it. The Homeland Security Department currently shares its biometric data and capabilities with numerous groups, including but not limited to the Justice, Defense and State departments.

In the years ahead, HART promises to strengthen those partnerships and allow others to flourish, according to Nemeth. While today the department limits other agencies’ access to IDENT to ensure they don’t consume too much of its limited computing power, HART will do away with those constraints. (source)

Mana Azarmi, the policy counsel for the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology is one of those people voicing concern.

A person might give information to a single agency thinking it would be used for one specific purpose, but depending on how that information is shared, they could potentially find themselves subjected to unforeseen negative consequences, Azarmi said in a conversation with Nextgov.

“The government gets a lot of leeway to share information,” she said. “In this age of incredible data collection, I think we need to rethink some of the rules that are in place and some of the practices that we’ve allowed to flourish post-9/11. We may have overcorrected.” (source)

You think?

Many people voluntarily provide biometric data.

Many folks provide biometric data without giving it a second thought. They cheerfully swab a cheek and send it into sites like, providing not only their DNA, but matches to many relatives who never gave permission for their DNA to be in a database.

Then there are cell phones. If you have a newer phone, it’s entirely possible that it has asked you to set up fingerprint login, facial recognition, and even voice recognition. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe that those samples are shared with folks beyond the device in your hand. Add to this that your device is tracking you every place you go through a wide variety of seemingly innocuous apps, and you start to get the picture.

You can’t opt-out.

Back in 2013, I wrote an article called The Great American Dragnet.  At that time, facial recognition was something that sounded like science fiction or some kind of joke. Our drivers’ licenses were the first foray into creating a database but even in 2013, it far exceeded that.

Another, even larger, database exists. The US State Department has a database with 230 million searchable images.  Anyone with a passport or an immigration visa may find themselves an unwilling participant in this database.   Here’s the breakdown of who has a photo database:

  • The State Department has about 15 million photos of passport or visa holders
  • The FBI has about15 million photos of people who have been arrested or convicted of crimes
  • The Department of Defense has about 6 million photos, mainly of Iraqis and Afghans
  • Various police agencies and states have at least 210 million driver’s license photos

This invasion of privacy is just another facet of the surveillance state, and should be no surprise considering the information Edward Snowden just shared about the over-reaching tentacles of the NSA into all of our communications. We are filing our identities with the government and they can identify us at will, without any requirement for probable cause. (source)

Some people don’t even seem to mind that their identities have been tagged and filed by the US government. And even those of us who do mind have no option. If you wish to drive a car or travel outside of the country or have any kind of government ID, like it or not, you’re in the database. Six years ago, I wrote:

The authorities that use this technology claim that the purpose of it is to make us safer, by helping to prevent identity fraud and to identify criminals.  However, what freedom are we giving up for this “safety” cloaked in benevolence? We are giving up the freedom of having the most elemental form of privacy – that of being able to go about our daily business without being watched and identified.  And once you’re identified, this connects to all sorts of other personal information that has been compiled: your address, your driving and criminal records, and potentially, whatever else that has been neatly filed away at your friendly neighborhood fusion center.

Think about it:  You’re walking the dog and you fail to scoop the poop – if there’s a surveillance camera in the area, it would be a simple matter, given the technology, for you to be identified. If you are attending a protest that might be considered “anti-government”, don’t expect to be anonymous.  A photo of the crowd could easily result in the identification of most of the participants.

Are you purchasing ammo, preparedness items, or books about a controversial topic?  Paying cash won’t buy you much in the way of privacy – your purchase will most likely be captured on the CCTV camera at the checkout stand, making you easily identifiable to anyone who might wish to track these kinds of things.  What if a person with access to this technology uses it for personal, less than ethical reasons, like stalking an attractive women he saw on the street?  The potential for abuse is mind-boggling.

If you can’t leave your house without being identified, do you have any real freedom left, or are you just a resident in a very large cage? (source)

When I wrote that, it still seemed far-fetched but remotely possible, even to me. This was before we were really aware of anything like the social credit program in China or how crazy the censorship was going to become or how social media would change the very fabric of our society.

Now, it’s here and it looks like there’s no stopping it.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company.  She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her family. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Let’s also add in the millions of military veterans, who have DNA, fingerprints, and faces in these database since 1995.

    How many recruits would sign on the dotted line knowing their biometrics would be scanned against criminal evidence every day of the rest of their lives – until they die?

    • Hi, Hugh.

      “How many recruits would sign on the dotted line knowing their biometrics would be scanned against criminal evidence every day of the rest of their lives – until they die?”

      To answer your question with another question,

      How many minions does Satan have, including both the willing and the duped? Having served myself, I can tell you unequivocally that the military is nothing but a microcosm of our larger society. Good has always been outnumbered by evil in society. The military is no exception. They’ve been infiltrated by the drug cartels, the homosexual brigade, and corrupt seekers of political power…and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.

      When the end of America comes…and it WILL come…it will be the same in the military as with the rest of civilian society. I see the entire country devolving into a re-enactment of the Bloody Kansas scenario.

      For those unfamiliar with US History, here is a good primer. “History doesn’t repeat itself…but it does rhyme.”

  • The Apayhy of people is horrendous. A simple massivce No Consent is all it would take to bring this Monster down. Apathy will be Humanity’s downfall.

    • It isn’t apathy, Ron. It’s contrarian stubbornness, arrogance and pride. You can’t even get 10 people to agree on what to eat for lunch. You actually believe you can get 350 million people to agree to anything?

      Humanity’s downfall came in the Garden of Eden long ago. It’s not some future event. It is ancient history. And it’s one long ongoing story. Fortunately, there is an escape from Judgment carved out in blood for any and all who would accept it.

      What you mistake in some as apathy is actually an acceptance of the facts. There are no accidents or coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose. We are all the masters of our own destinies. We don’t get to choose what happens on our path as we travel (that is already decided), but we DO decide the destination.

      What is happening was always going to happen. Our mission is not to try to stop it, but to endure it and continue on to our destination. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

  • This is absolutely terrifying but it’s obviously way too late to do anything about it. Although well intentioned, the attempt by privacy groups to get some sort of legislation or regulation for this stuff is pointless: when have all these unethical government agencies, with their utter contempt for us minions, ever worried about regulations? The only thing you can do is stay as anonymous as possible. I wouldn’t dream of giving my DNA to some ancestry website, letting my phone scan my retina or having a device like Alexa listen to every word spoken in my house. Then again, my phone is already listening anyway and my car probably feeds back information on every place I visit. So that takes me back to where I started: we live in terrifying times and I dread to think where it’s all going to end.

    • Be of good cheer!

      2 Timothy 1:

      7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
      8: Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
      9: Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,


      Know that dread and terror for what it is…a satanic attack on your soul. Let us encourage one another in the strength and Goodness of our Lord. HE is our place of refuge, our high tower and our fortress in times such as these. I say this to remind myself as much as to encourage others. Nevertheless, it is the truth.

    • It’s way too late to minimize our presence in their database. All our hapless family and friends who love, love, love all the convenience gadgetry are connected to us in the System. When I worked in an attorney’s office, I was dumbfounded at how easy it was to find someone just through public documents — they know your relations and your known associates, where you’ve lived more than a few weeks, etc. Your profile is set.

      But after much pondering, I believe that terror is part of the gag. That’s partly why I, like Charles in VA, look to Some Higher Sovereignty Who loves my soul even more than I can imagine. That One will see me through even past my demise. With that in my mind, I can ask, “What can man do to me?” Spiritually, nothing.

      We can only have some inklings of how its going to go. How it all will hits us as individuals is anyone’s guess. We have to know who we are and that we don’t compromise the ideals of our souls nor the ideals of the social contract of our Constitution in favor of a Total State.

      The PTB are sufficiently battening down their hatches so that they will meet little resistance of any consequence to their system when it rises to the surface from the murk.. Their corruption has blinded them even to their own humanity. As with every great unwieldy tyrannical monster, it will have a weak spot. Given enough time, it will collapse from within because it is not based on truth.

      • I’ll have to back up how easy it is to get information on people.

        The last time I dealt with eBay, I tried to sell something to someone who tried to cheat me. He did so in the name of a young woman whose name was so unique that no one else in the country had the same name. I realized that he was trying to cheat me, so I started looking up information about the young woman who was cheating me. The more information I got, the more unlikely it seemed that she was the cheat.

        Then the real cheat made a mistake that revealed his real identity to me. He was an immigrant from India in his 60s. I got his home address, phone, email address, and all the fake addresses he used to cheat people. I found a way to contact the young woman, told her to contact her lawyer and gave her all the information I had found about the cheater. I asked for no favors from her, just told her that what I had done for her is what I would have wanted from her had the shoe been on the other foot. The cheat’s account in a false name disappeared.

        That was also the last time I dealt with eBay and PayPal, because they favored the cheats, they were dishonest and didn’t honor their own contracts with their customers.

  • Daisy,

    What you once penned in speculation and dread, I have accepted as fact for over 50 years. It’s all spelled out pretty clearly in the Apostle John’s Book of Revelation. Mind you, I was not entirely certain all that time that I would live to see it, but I am convinced of it now.

    As horrifying as it might seem, we are very privileged to be living in these times. Of ALL the generations that have lived and died, WE were chosen before the Creation of the Universe to be the ones to bear witness to the completion of God’s Plan for the redemption of humanity. That is a remarkable honor, as well as a burden.

    I see you as better than the good handmaidens at the wedding feast. Not only do you keep your lamp filled with oil, but you remind the others to do likewise and even tell them where and how to do it. And isn’t that what all of us are supposed to do?

    I’m proud to know that I have people like you living in my State!

    Warmest Regards,


  • All programs are under the guise of “keeping us safe”. Those who opposed the patriot act (what a misnomer) were skewered. Eisenhower and others warned us – too few bothered to listen.

  • I tried to read George Orwell’s novel “1984”, only got half way through before i had to put it down, as I tell it had no happy ending. Today’s reality is far worse than Orwell’s worst nightmares could have imagined.

  • Data Exhaust
    Digital Footprint

    Data exhaust is the data you leave behind while traveling the Internet or using a computer.

    Digital footprint could be considered the accumulation of your digital data exhaust along with other ways you leave a trail of your searches and activities.

    As an excercise, after visting a website check your ‘History’ setting to see how many ‘cookies’ you have picked-up. It could be one or it could be two hundred depending on the volume of traffic, links, advertisement and other factors of that one website.

    If you have a website having as many links to other sites is good as you’ll have a higher rating and be closer to the top of the list for queries when someone does a web search.

    Not that I know jack but having a huge enterprise Database is one thing but to find the needle in the haystack, the info wanted, a good Search Engine is needed.

    Perhaps combining the established Relational ‘Excel’ rank and file table Database methods with “Non” SQL Object orientated methods, with the technologies in Daisy’s article would be interesting.

    Anyone who remembers the movie “The Graduate” when Dustin Hoffman is being told by a family member the future is in Plastics …

    … substitute ‘Big Data Management’ as a possible vocation.

    Then again I still believe the Internet was invented by the same person who gave us the Algorithm.
    ( And search engine ‘bots’ were predicted by Iggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars … or was it the ‘Matrix’.)

    Alhemizers, go figure 🙂

    • … for digitial preppers,

      “The Old Man in the Cave”
      Twilight Zone
      Season 5, Episode 7, 1963
      ( with James Coburn)

      Who’s to say we’re not computer programs with ninety percent or more of our synapses missing an end tag to execute an action.
      …………………………… just kidding

      • j.i.c.

        A “cookie” is a small text file created on your computer each time you visit a website that basically tracks your history on the web.
        They can be blocked or cleared.

  • Are all the social media platforms considering a long term grid down event? Are they putting any money toward protecting the grid? No electricity, no internet.

  • Haven’t there been multiple hacking instances of Amazon, Alexa, door bell cam, etc?
    Wow…. I feel sooo safe and secure now????

  • Most people don’t realize that we’re always shedding DNA which is something to remember as it’s not a sure fire identification.

  • The only thing that will stop this and all the other spying is a massive EMP or CME.
    BUT… that will bring so many other problems.
    What’s a person to do?
    Be the gray (wo)man and hope for the best, I guess.

  • That is fine. Why do i say this? same reason i don’t care about them tracing me on the internet.
    I have to expectation nowadays for privacy “IN THEIR SYSTEM” Because even if you figure a way around it, “IT” was just a red herring anyway to draw your fire in one direction. They have zero moral high ground.
    They are a terrorist organization, they are terrorizing all life on earth. They are an enemy combatant against the American people. Nobody wants them, nobody voted for them to exist. They were forced upon us,
    Thus, rules of war apply, in moral high ground and in the Eyes of Almighty GOD! So, what ever happens,
    happens. I have any and all rights to do what I need to do to end this threat. I am not worried about what you know about me. You can find anyone, anywhere. There is no where to hide..But in faith.
    You know where I live, Come dig me out..and you will have to dig, or use a bunker buster bomb.
    But when you dig into..I will Alamo your ass until you look like swiss cheese…kapeesh

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

    We respect your privacy.
    Malcare WordPress Security