Yup! I am not sure I would want all the personal data in the dbase public, but the non private stuff, such as the images that do not identify the persons and the associated metadata describing the tattoos would be a really interesting research too for those doing body studies.
The database is part of the New York Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center. Wholly tomoli it also includes
a database for body marks, like birthmarks and scars. It keeps track of teeth, noting missing ones and gold ones. It keeps track of the way people walk: if there is a limp, it notes its severity. And it has a so-called blotchy database, of skin conditions…The databases are fed, in part, by arrest reports; officers are instructed to take detailed notes and enter them into a computer program that moves the information to a large server…The databases pull from 911 calls, arrests, complaints filed by victims, reports on accidents and moving violations.
It seems that some tattoos lack a bit of originality. A keyword search on ‘I love you’ yields 596 hits!
To use the tattoo database, detectives can enter either words or images they believe may be in the tattoo. A search request can also include the part of the body that bears the tattoo…“Jailhouse tattoos, tribal tattoos, those are sometimes hard to write down descriptions for because either we don’t know what they are or what they mean,” Sergeant Lonergan said. “Asian symbols are easier.”
When is information too much information? In this case it is a fine line. In my naive optimist days, we would only want this information for cultural research. My realist side tells me that there are many ways to find the bad guys. Crime is down in New York, even if there is debate about juking the stats. As stated earlier socio-anthropological research potential of this dbase if accessible in a way where the private information is kept out, would just be sublime though!