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The FBI is expanding server capacity to make room for a nationwide iris scan database as part of a larger Next-Generation Identification system, according to Nextgov.

The expansion is part of a multiyear $1 billion program now under way, and the iris scan database is slated for testing in 2014.

According to law enforcement officials, the purpose of the upgrade is to speed up the process of catching repeat offenders or suspects who try to hide their identities.

Eventually the system will also contain biometric information like facial images and palm scans. Collection of the iris images is not a singular federal effort, but rather the FBI is collecting scans that have been performed by many state and federal prisons and jails over past years.

According to a June FBI advisory board memo reviewed by Nextgov, iris recognition is a good identification solution because it “is very accurate,” can be completely automated through software, and “the hardware footprint is also very small [due] to the size of the iris image.”

For in-depth coverage of this story, visit Nextgov.