Analysis: Face recognition in law enforcement

Facial recognition technology a law enforcement tool (Wicked Local North of Boston)

Police are using sophisticated software to match the faces of criminals being videotaped committing a crime and photographs stored in enormous databases. The software has paid some dividends. This year, Akron, Ohio, police detectives used a facial recognition database to identify a suspect accused of murder. Detectives obtained the suspect’s photograph. The image was run through the database, and Charles Fortson was flagged. After an interview Fortson was arrested.

Concerns about the proper scope of facial recognition technology applications in law enforcement are also discussed in the above-linked article.

They did it

The State of Florida has banned biometrics in schools — biometric systems intended to help schools function better in delivering the services they are tasked with providing.

It’ll be fun to see if someone decides to sue when a school tries to sell yearbooks this year. After all, if using a secure biometric system to help a school lunch line move faster is wrong, how can schools be allowed to sell a facial recognition database of the school’s students?

On a side note, the big annual biometrics conference is in Tampa, Florida again this year.

A discussion of facial recognition and advertising

Consumers Have No Constitutional Protection From Facial Recognition (Internet Evolution)

Over the past decade, marketers have increasingly relied on facial recognition technology (FRT) to create personalized advertisements. FRT depends on complex algorithms to identify a person by measuring the size, angle, and distance between a person’s facial features. FRT then uses this information to search a database of similar features and matches the image to a stored reference photo. Within seconds of capturing an image, FRT can detect and identify a single person in a crowded public area.

Unlike earlier discussions of the use of facial recognition technology used to ascertain demographic characteristics rather than a unique identity, this article discusses true facial recognition in advertising.

Other posts containing longer comments on demographics vs. identity with respect to facial recognition:
Burgeoning Facial Recognition: How come no pitchforks?
FTC Freestylin’ on Face Recognition

Biometrics reveal improperly issued drivers licenses in New Jersey

Yesterday we concluded the “perfect is the enemy of good” post, with the observation that the merit of biometric ID systems is established when biometrics are used to audit what we termed “Industrial Age” systems.

Right on cue, The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) reports that:

A new, high tech software has helped authorities identify two city men who fraudulently obtained New Jersey Drivers Licenses, according to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (AOG).

Raymond Feeney, 51, and Kirk Bland, 50, have been indicted on charges of using personal information of another to obtain a driver’s license, tampering with public records and forgery. Feeney’s license was suspended on four driving while intoxicated convictions, Bland’s licenses were suspended on two unrelated DUIs.

Any guesses as to what kind of high tech software was used to audit the New Jersey drivers license database, or the scope of the fraud detected (error rate, if you will)?

Many critics of the adoption of biometric identity management technology try to argue that unless biometric techniques are infallible and perfect, then they shouldn’t be used. This line of reasoning ignores the fact that the systems they themselves depend upon for the identity documents that enable their full participation in the modern world are demonstrably fallible.

Is it any wonder, then, that developing countries that don’t already have universal access to DMV’s, birth certificates, social security cards, etc., are not only adopting biometric ID management techniques but that they are deploying them at the front end of their ID infrastructure rather than as a remedial measure?

Thai Cop Mannequins – Now with face recognition

Thailand to introduce smarter police manikins for traffic control (FutureGov – Asia)

‘Police Sergeant Cheoy’—Police Manikins whose name means ‘Still’ are widely used and positioned at critical traffic locations in Bangkok as part of an effort to alert and remind road commuters to respect traffic regulation.

The new and smarter version of Police Sergeant Cheoy is equipped with new technology of hidden CCTV network with facial recognition system to detect driver faces, and car identification number more efficiently.

Some good photos of the ‘Smiling Traffic Police’ are here.

Germany will wait on Irish investigation of Facebook Facial Recognition

German Regulator Suspends Facebook Facial-Recognition Probe (Bloomberg)

A German privacy regulator suspended its probe of Facebook Inc. (FB)’s facial-recognition features pending an Irish audit of how the social-media company handles personal data.

Hamburg’s data-protection authority said it will wait for Facebook to negotiate with Ireland’s privacy regulator before deciding whether Facebook complies with rules for using biometric data in an application that suggests people to tag in photos on the social-networking site.