Facial Recognition quickly ID’s mass shooting suspect

Capital Gazette shooting suspect was identified using face recognition technology (MIT Technology Review)

“After a man killed five members of the paper’s staff last week, authorities quickly apprehended a suspect. He did not have an ID on him, refused to cooperate with police, and couldn’t easily be recognized via his fingerprints, so they turned to face recognition software.”

Australia funds national face recognition capability

Govt funds $18.5m Aussie facial recognition database (iTnews)

It will allow law enforcement agencies to share citizens’ facial images to identify unknown individuals and verify identities.

The ‘national facial biometric matching capability’ will match a facial photograph to images on passports, visas and driver’s licences, and will initially offer functionality to match the identities of known individuals. It will later be able to match unknown individuals, the AGD said last month.

It will be targeted towards identity theft, fraudulent identity documents and “other serious criminal activity”, AGD said.

FBI’s Rap Back program will use biometrics to alert government agencies of felony arrests of their employees

D/FW Airport to be among first users of FBI criminal history tracking effort (Dallas Morning News)

D/FW Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport were the two selected by the Transportation Security Administration to pilot the FBI’s Rap Back program. The program allows the TSA to continuously track employees for felony-level arrests, rather than relying on individuals to self-report their crimes.

Australia gearing up for huge biometrics tender

CrimTrac to extend national biometric identification database (The Financial Review)

CrimTrac, the federal biometric information repository, wants more freedom to flexibly access other databases, such as national location data, as the national broadband program gradually progresses towards a fully functional, nationally available high-speed data network.

It is looking for a specialist information technology supplier to tool up a more flexible, versatile operating installation which can incorporate a range of new techniques as they become available, and can cope with the ever-spreading list of mobile devices being deployed in the field by policing agencies.

Fingerprints help end 55-year fugitive search

Fingerprint ruse IDs Florida man as longtime Ohio fugitive (MSN)

Authorities in Florida say a ruse to get a man’s fingerprints led to his arrest as a convicted killer who escaped an Ohio prison farm and disappeared for most of six decades.

Brevard County deputies say investigators with the U.S. Marshals Service in Ohio sought help to check out the man while chasing leads about Frank Freshwaters, an Akron man who escaped in 1959. Major Tod Goodyear says they created a ruse to get the man to sign papers, then matched the fingerprints to those from the decades-old arrest.

Facial recognition technology is changing how we think about photography

SCOTLAND: Cash-strapped police spend £700k on UK database (The Scotsman)

The MPs noted a “worrying” lack of government oversight and regulation of the use of biometrics by public bodies.

It called for day-to-day independent oversight of the police use of all biometrics, and for the Biometrics Commissioner’s jurisdiction to be extended beyond DNA and fingerprints.

ILLINOIS: Does Facebook’s facial recognition technology violate privacy laws? (ABA Journal)

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, argues that the social media company was required by Illinois law to inform Carlo Licata in writing that it would collect and retain his “biometric data,” and specify when it would destroy that data.

Both Facebook and the police in Scotland have been collecting photos of individuals for years but facial recognition technology changes things. Photos aren’t simply records of something that happened, mere mementos, anymore. They’re search terms and search results.

That has implications for both public and private entities who collect and store images of people.

Ordinary snapshots are now biometric data. The news pieces above both show long-standing policies being scrutinized in the context of reliable facial recognition technology.

US: Los Angeles County acquiring multimodal biometric ID system

LA County Sheriff’s Department to Start Collecting Face and Eye Scans (The Epoch Times)

Thai argues the new data collection will actually protect people from identity theft and will avoid wrongful arrests.

“Sometimes we arrest people, and they don’t use their real name, so by having a better way to identify that person, it will protect the public [from] those that will get their name used by somebody else,” he said.

The technology will be used by all of the approximately 46 law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County. It will take about 15-18 months to be installed and fully operational.

LA County may be one of the more complex law enforcement environments in the developed world.

Forecast: Germany law enforcement biometrics CAGR 17.6% through 2018

Law Enforcement Biometrics Market in Germany 2014-2018 (Companies and Markets)

A major driver of the market is the high demand for security. The Government sector, especially the law enforcement bodies, is in need of more secure and protected security measures. The increase in investments by the government in biometric solutions is a major boost for the Biometrics market in Germany.

Further, one of the major challenges that hinder the growth of the market is the accuracy of biometric systems. The accuracy of the biometric system may not be high enough in certain applications such as negative identification or if the fingerprints are faded, which is a special physical characteristic.

Analysts forecast the Law Enforcement Biometrics market in Germany to grow at a CAGR of 17.6 percent over the period 2013-2018.

Voice biometrics and “the right to remain silent”

Passcode vs. Touch ID: A Legal Analysis (9TO5MAC)

With the suspect in handcuffs, the agent swipes the student’s finger across the phone to access his call history and messages. Once the FBI swipes the suspect’s finger and bypasses the biometric security, the phone asks for the student’s passcode. The FBI agent asks for his password but the student refuses to speak. How can the FBI agent access the phone? Whereas a fictional Federal Agent like Jack Bauer would simply pull out his gun, jam it in the suspect’s mouth and scream, “WHERE IS THE BOMB?”, in our example, the FBI agent would hit the proverbial brick wall.

This is where a gray area might still exist for hardware protected with voice biometrics.

I’m no criminal or constitutional lawyer, but it seems plausible that while a criminal suspect can be legally compelled to give over their fingerprint, the “right to remain silent” remains.

Commonwealth v. Baust probably isn’t the last word on all biometric modalities that could prove useful in criminal investigations.

Virginia court rules fingerprint security not protected by 5th Amendment

Police can demand fingerprints but not passcodes to unlock phones, rules judge (Naked Security)

Cops can force you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, but not with your passcode, according to a judge in the US state of Virginia.

We touched on this in early 2012 in United States: ID Technology & the Bill of Rights which drew inspiration from a bank fraud case in Colorado.

I still think that voice-based technologies may still exist in the legal gray area this case attempts to clear up.

As for fingerprints, those may be taken from persons at the time of their arrest, so it’s hard to argue that they are somehow out of bounds for investigative purposes. One may be forgiven, however for wondering what’s the big deal. After all, I’ve been reading for years that finding a latent fingerprint and using it to hack biometric security systems is child’s play. So, either the police would rather go to court than use such a simple workaround, or the rubber finger trick is much harder to pull off than some suggest.

Biometrics against criminal aliases

Suspect in deputy deaths arrested in Utah in 2003 (Boston Herald)

Police in West Valley City, Utah, said they took a fingerprint from a man using the name Marcelo Marquez during a misdemeanor hit-and-run arrest in 2003. Court records show that he pleaded guilty, received a year of probation and was fined about $500.

However, Utah authorities never connected him to his real name or his previous criminal record.

In Utah, fingerprint data is entered into a biometric database for all people booked into jail. But for those who are cited and released, police take a print from a single finger that’s kept in state criminal records.

Unless there’s a request from an investigator, the print is not run against the biometric database to determine whether the person has a prior record outside Utah or is using an alias, said Alice Moffat, director of the Bureau of Criminal Identification.

Biometrics are a great way to root out criminal aliases, but only if procedures are in place to run the biometric search.

NYPD getting mobile fingerprint tech

NYPD Equips Officers With Biometric Smartphones (Government Technology)

New York Police Department officers and vehicles are to be outfitted with new technology as part of a $160 million program that will lead to fewer arrests and more summonses after being fully implemented next year, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Oct. 23.

All 35,000 NYPD officers will be equipped with smartphones that allow officers to search databases, view wanted posters and scan suspects’ fingerprints.

LA County: Stop and Scan

The Pasadena Weekly has just published an article purporting to describe LA County’s plans to populate the FBI’s next generation ID system with data gathered in the field.

On Sept. 15, the FBI announced that the Next Generation Identification System was fully operational. Now that the central infrastructure is in place, the next phase is for local jurisdictions across the country to update their own information-gathering systems to the FBI’s standards.

When the system is up and running in L.A., any law enforcement official working in the county, including the Los Angeles Police Department, would collect biometric information on people who are booked into county jails or by using mobile devices in the field.

This would occur even when people are stopped for lesser offenses or pulled over for minor traffic violations, according to documents obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting through a public records request.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Department, which operates the countywide system, said the biometric information would be retained indefinitely — regardless of whether the person in question is convicted of the crime for which he or she was arrested.

If this report is corroborated, I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this.

FBI switches criminal ID information systems

FBI: Full Operational Capability of the Next Generation Identification System (FBI Press Release)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division announced today the achievement of full operational capability of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System. The FBI’s NGI System was developed to expand the Bureau’s biometric identification capabilities, ultimately replacing the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) in addition to adding new services and capabilities.

The IPS [Interstate Photo System] facial recognition service will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities.

The transition appears not to have been completely smooth, but it also looks like normal service is being restored to those who rely upon the FBI’s ID infrastrusture.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reports problem-free weekend after a week of issues (Guns.com)

The system started experiencing problems Sept. 6, when the FBI implemented the Next Generation Identification system — a $1.2 billion biometric system that recognizes facial features, scans irises, and reads palm and fingerprints to identify criminals — to replace the single sourced Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

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.

FBI captures long-time fugitive using facial recognition

Neil Stammer Captured Poster (Screenshot)

FBI and facial recognition catch a fugitive of 14 years (FBI)

Special Agent Russ Wilson had just been assigned the job of fugitive coordinator in our Albuquerque Division—the person responsible for helping to catch the region’s bank robbers, murderers, sex offenders, and other criminals who had fled rather than face the charges against them.

“In addition to the current fugitives, I had a stack of old cases,” Wilson said, “and Stammer’s stood out.” Working with our Office of Public Affairs, a new wanted poster for Stammer was posted on FBI.gov in hopes of generating tips.

At about the same time, a special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)—a branch of the U.S. Department of State whose mission includes protecting U.S. Embassies and maintaining the integrity of U.S. visa and passport travel documents—was testing new facial recognition software designed to uncover passport fraud. On a whim, the agent decided to use the software on FBI wanted posters. When he came upon Stammer’s poster online, a curious thing happened: Stammer’s face matched a person whose passport photo carried a different name.

Facial recognition ID’s another 40-year fugitive

Suspected NC fugitive from 1970s arrested in Iowa (LaCrosse Tribune)

According to authorities, the man they believe is Carnes moved to Waterloo from Washington state in the summer of 2013. Where he lived before that is a mystery.

Carnes

On July 12, he used the name William Henry Cox to obtain a vehicle title. Then on March 11, he used the identity of Louie Vance to apply for an Iowa driver’s license.

Investigators became suspicious when the Iowa Department of Transportation’s biometric facial recognition program sent up red flags about his driver’s license. The system records the distances between facial features and stores them on a computerized database to compare with measurements on other photos in the system.

See also from March 15…
A promising data point for the durability of facial recognition biometrics

A gimlet eye on the FBI’s face recognition database

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s FOIA request/lawsuit for FBI records about its facial recognition efforts has borne fruit, as we thought it might.

FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database by Next Year (EFF)

The records we received show that the face recognition component of NGI may include as many as 52 million face images by 2015. By 2012, NGI already contained 13.6 million images representing between 7 and 8 million individuals, and by the middle of 2013, the size of the database increased to 16 million images. The new records reveal that the database will be capable of processing 55,000 direct photo enrollments daily and of conducting tens of thousands of searches every day.

Read the whole thing. There’s a lot there.

Two of the most interesting revelations come under the headings: NGI Will Include Non-Criminal as well as Criminal Photos, and, Many States Are Already Participating in NGI.

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