WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI has awarded a nearly $1 billion contract to Lockheed Martin to help create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics as part of an effort to better identify criminals and terrorists.
The FBI wants to use eye scans, combined with other data, to help identify suspects.
The overall deal is worth between $850 million to $1 billion and could run as long as 10 years, said Thomas Bush, the FBI's assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
"We are looking forward to this future effort," Bush said.
Judy Marks, the president of Lockheed's Transport and Security Solutions division, said, "We're tremendously pleased to partner with the agency once again to deliver the next quantum leap in capability." Watch what the FBI hopes to gain »
Lockheed Martin built the FBI's current fingerprint database. The new program is being billed as the Next Generation Identification -- and is assailed by privacy advocates who say it should cause alarm among all Americans.
"It's the beginning of the surveillance society where you can be tracked anywhere, any time and all your movements, and eventually all your activities will be tracked and noted and correlated," Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Project, told CNN last month. Watch why you should be concerned »
The FBI currently has 55 million sets of fingerprints on file. In coming years, officials want to use the new database to compare palm prints, scars, tattoos, iris eye patterns and facial shapes.
Lockheed is being tapped with expanding the database to include these new types of biometric information. The idea is to combine various pieces of information to positively identify someone.
"Fingerprints will still be the big player," Bush told CNN.
But he quickly added, "Whatever the biometric that comes down the road, we need to be able to plug that in and play." E-mail to a friend