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3D Biometric Facial Recognition Comes To UK 157

Posted by timothy
from the are-you-ready-for-your-closeup? dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "In the UK, where the recent Queen's speech about national identity cards generated lots of -- mostly negative -- coverage, another potentially invasive technology is being tested with very few criticism. For example, several police departments are now testing a 3D biometric facial recognition software from Aurora, a company based near Northampton. The use of facial recognition 'is rapidly becoming the third forensic science alongside fingerprints and DNA,' according to a police officer who talked to BBC News for 'How your face could open doors.'" (More below.)
"The company claims its software is so sophisticated it can make the distinction between identical twins. And if the civil liberties groups continue to be neutral, this technology could also be deployed in airports or by private companies. Even banks are thinking to put cameras in their ATM machines to identify you. The good thing is that you will not have to remember your PIN. On the other hand, as with every new technology, is it safe for your privacy and is it possible to hack the system? Read more before making your decision."
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3D Biometric Facial Recognition Comes To UK

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  • Virtual ID card (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tetromino (807969) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:21AM (#10936313)
    If this technology is as good as Aurora claims, it can be used to implement a virtual ID card - just scan someone's face, and you can bring up their info from a database, no need for them to carry a piece of plastic around.

    Obviously that's a privacy concern - but how can you regulate face recognition? It's fundamentally no different from having a live cop recognize your mug.
    • foolproof (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Random_Goblin (781985) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:42AM (#10936353)
      I'm a bit concerned about the claims and assumtions regarding the "foolproof" nature of this technology.

      Aurora say that they have a zero failure rate, but this is not proof on the "uniqueness" of their identification.

      New technology like this very quickly becomes "magic" to the general public and the end users, and there is indeed a difference in the computer recognising your face vs a live cop... the computer is more likely to be assumed to be infallible
      • by h4rm0ny (722443) * on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:55AM (#10936382) Journal

        Seriously, are the cameras going to be set to raise an alert when someone walks down the street that they can't distinguish? Will police occasionally stop you and ask you to remove your stetson so that CCTV can calm down?

        How reliable can this be? And if they can scan and recognize a face this effectively in the data, can we reproduce it in latex a la Mission Impossible... well enough to fool the system anyway?

        And do we want the government to have this much data on people?

        I can certainly answer the last question.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Will police occasionally stop you and ask you to remove your stetson so that CCTV can calm down?

          You're only joking, but stetson misuse is indeed a huge problem in the UK, gangs of armed youths and trigger happy pensioners often roam the streets under the protection of stetson hats. In fact, it's a little known law in the UK that any school teacher or qualified butcher may commandeer a stetson from a member of the public if they are at risk from violent dogs (or wolves, although that claim has never been t
      • Re:foolproof (Score:5, Informative)

        by aslate (675607) <planetexpress.gmail@com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:32AM (#10936572) Homepage
        A good point they brought up on Question Time last week, they mentioned the "foolproofness" of ID cards, i think they were as optimistic as assuming a 1% failure rate.

        They then went on to totally demolish this relatively high level of success by simply using numbers. There's about 60 million people in the UK, so that's 600,000 people that can be rejected. That sort of failure is just not acceptable for something such as a national ID car scheme.
        • Re:foolproof (Score:4, Insightful)

          by owlstead (636356) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:08AM (#10936835)
          You should not believe any claims that have such high numbers of success. Currently no facial recognition program can offer that. It's even the question if fingerprint identification has such high success rates though they will be undoubtedly be higher.

          The question is if this is enough not to deploy biometrics. First of all, do you use it for authentication (passport) or identification (crowd scanning, door opening). The latter is a lot more difficult. Then there is the question if you accept the odd failure, and plan for it. For instance if you fail to authenticate at airport, there could be a separate line manned by humans. Unfortunately, the 1% will not be spread equally, some people might be unlucky a high percentage of the time.

          Another problem that I've not mentioned is that there is a balance between false positives and false negatives. That is the difference between other persons being identified as you, and you not being identified. Most of the time there is a (delicate) balance between the two.

          That's the problem with biometrics. You cannot just say if a certain failure rate is acceptable - it all depends on the parameters of the system you are using it in.
          • Yes, i agree with you, you shouldn't believe any such high rates of success (It may even have been 10%, but the numbers are enough).

            The problem is, i don't think they've made it clear how they're going to use the ID card scheme (No an ID Car as i said in the first post ;). They brought it in under the whole tightening of security, yet admit it won't prevent terrorism. They say it can help track immigration, but thousands (unknown numbers even) of illegal immigrants get into the country and aren't tracked.
      • Re:foolproof (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zemran (3101)
        They can claim all they like but I think that they are being disingenuous. I have read many independant trials of this and all found problems. I do not proffess to be an expert, but I did work with forensic experts for 5 years until recently and we never found that facial recognition worked well enough, even to use as a guide. It was far too easy to fool and even when not trying to fool it the failure rate was high.

        Even though it is not supposed to matter what hair do someone has it did seem to confuse
      • I'm a bit concerned about the claims and assumtions regarding the "foolproof" nature of this technology.

        So you should be. However, I was involved with a number of projects in this area and I can tell you that given the level of development in the technology and the accuracy that is currently demonstrated in the trials, it's extremely promising. It's likely to be better than the police officer identifying a line-up.

        This might be somewhat scary, in the sense that, you'll see these at airports in immigrati

      • Now I know that identical twins are 100% identical, but there are some who are close. How does such a system cope with identical twins? they are after all two different people.
    • ...just scan someone's face, and you can bring up their info from a database, no need for them to carry a piece of plastic around.

      Or your twins.

    • A live cop isn't saying "well the distance between the corners of his lips is the same as Suspect X, his pupils are the same distance apart as Suspect X, his ears in relation to his other features are the same size and shape as Suspect X therefore he must be Suspect X" thereby triggering your immediate arrest and detention whilst you try to prove you are not Suspect X.

      Meanwhile, Suspect X is walking around freely wearing some prosphetics that alter the shape of his nose, ears, corners of his lips, etc.
      • A live cop isn't saying "well the distance between the corners of his lips is the same as Suspect X, his pupils are the same distance apart as Suspect X, his ears in relation to his other features are the same size and shape as Suspect X therefore he must be Suspect X".

        The live cop is saying "He fits the description I just got. Good morning sir, may I see your ID?". It actually happened to my friends - a cop stopped them because they fit the description of some criminals he just got over the radio. Sure, t

    • Re:Virtual ID card (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mrogers (85392)
      An ID database in which you can generate a new identity by shaving is not a very useful ID database.
      • "Do you own, or have you ever owned, an electric razor? Have you ever used an electric razor to change your appearance during the commission of a felony? Have you ever been within shouting distance of a plastic surgean? Wipe that smile off your face, Sonny. You're confusing our sensing equipment."
    • It's fundamentally no different from having a live cop recognize your mug.

      The degree to which technology is involved can be regulated in certain places.

      In Vegas, for example, it's not illegal to count cards, altho casinos will reserve the right to kick you out of the premises if they find out you are doing that. It is illegal to use devices to aid you in counting cards, however.

      Unless privacy groups become more vocal and powerful than they currently are, it's unlikely that they will outlaw it. Forms o
    • but how can you regulate face recognition? It's fundamentally no different from having a live cop recognize your mug

      It's different enough in that there is currently no such thing as a God-like cop who knows exactly where you are at any given time. For example, in London there is a traffic congestion charging scheme which uses a computerised system that can read car licence plates via one of the great many cameras dotted around the city. I believe this system achieves very high results and catches a lot o

    • I have worked on these types of projects with a very well known US Biometric company. My company designed the user interface for an all electronic card-based passport system in the Netherlands. It is being used as a replacement for passports. It's essentially a smart chip that matches a facial scan and a fingerprint against what's on the smart card. The total process can be a matter of seconds... and believe me... it's fool proof.

      I know for a fact that a face scan like the one they use can not be fooled by
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now I will have to end up looking like Mrs. Doubtfire whenever I want to go anywhere :(
  • by CheesyPeteza (814646) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:26AM (#10936322)
    My friend was building a 3D scanner for his final year project. He went to Aurora for a tour and to see how they did it.

    According to him they said that they'd taken Geri Halliwell's face and put it on to the body of a model for one of her videos as she was pregnant at the time. :o (this was around the beginning of 2000, I'm not a big Geri fan so I can't tell you what video it was)

    I wasn't sure if I believed what Aurora had said at the time, and I'm still not. But if its true, this technology must be pretty advanced as that was 4 years ago.
  • Bad day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snotman88 (829679) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:36AM (#10936339) Journal
    The problem with face recognition is that faces change. If you get a black eye from some fist fight, the computer won't recognize you. Children going through puberty can look completely different in a matter of months. What if you're wearing huge-ass sunglasses? What if you grow a beard? Will you not be able to ID yourself if you are wearing an eye-bandage?
    • there be pirates trying to defeat your biometrics
      • I would wholeheartedly support this technology exclusively on the condition that all criminals had to walk around dressed like pirates to fool the scanners. I mean, really, that would just be awesome. "Don't go down any dark alleys- you might be accosted by buccaneers"...
    • Get a haircut and shave ... and you can't withdraw money anymore ?..

      I'd have believed more in iris recognition ...
    • In the article, one of the things it says is that it measures lots of the key distances on your face. Even if you grow a beard, it won't change the distance between your eyes or the space between your nose and your lips.

      I would assume that it will be able to take account of temporary differences by being told (or automatically choosing to) ignore that part of the face.

    • Halloween would be a bitch too.....
  • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:39AM (#10936344) Homepage
    if you're pretty enough [uklinux.net]...
    • Not to be like the dirty old dad in American Beauty...

      My wife has a 19-year0old daughter who has this incredibly pretty (tall, thin, blond, beautiful face, very pleasant manner) but rather dizzy 18-year-old friend. She has stayed with us a couple of times. She also inherited a lot of money that she's trying to spend quickly (go figure).

      One morning I took her to the station. She was going to see her boyfriend at university. She'd bought a load of stuff to take to him because he's a poor student. Later on I f

  • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:39AM (#10936346)
    Because with all those biometric recognition system/ATM, all a junky robber would need off would be to cut my finger/eye/head whatever and try to match it against the ATM. With pin code they at least need you alive to tell them what the pin is.
  • by kahei (466208) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:53AM (#10936380) Homepage

    My first thought was, 'where should I paint the stripes on my face to confuse such a system?'. My next thought was 'actually, painting stripes on my face might cause worse problems, such as being called 'stripey' by small kids'.

    All the same, it would be pretty cool if measures to avoid face recognition became a mark of toughness ('I'm a scary criminal, me, I have to avoid cameras') and then of fashion -- everything that's adopted by genuinely scary people winds up being worn by college kids 5-10 years later, after all. The result could be an interesting arms race between software designers and makeup artists.

    Now I'm off to order my David Blunkett latex mask. Heh heh.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:58AM (#10936392)


    3D Biometric Facial Recognition Comes To UK

    In the UK, where the recent Queen's speech about national identity cards generated lots of -- mostly negative -- coverage, another potentially invasive technology is being tested with very few criticism. For example, several police departments are now testing a 3D biometric facial recognition software from Aurora, a company based near Northampton. The use of facial recognition "is rapidly becoming the third forensic science alongside fingerprints and DNA," according to a police officer who talked to BBC News for "How your face could open doors." The company claims its software is so sophisticated it can make the distinction between identical twins. And if the civil liberties groups continue to be neutral, this technology could also be deployed in airports or by private companies. Even banks are thinking to put cameras in their ATM machines to identify you. The good thing is that you will not have to remember your PIN. On the other hand, as with every new technology, is it safe for your privacy and is it possible to hack the system? Read more...

    Here is the introduction from BBC News Magazine.

    The ethical debate about identity cards has been reignited following the Queen's Speech, but its facial recognition technology is being used in other areas. Police are hailing it as a forensic breakthrough and a new "foolproof" 3D version could eventually become a routine procedure at cash machines or workplaces.

    Once the preserve of science fiction, biometric facial recognition has now become a reality. Despite its association with the controversy of identity cards, it is predicted to become part of everyday life.

    But is the technology ready?

    As companies become more security conscious, the process of having our faces scanned is set to become more commonplace. And new technology which can produce this in a more accurate 3D form could accelerate this trend

    A firm which has developed the 3D software, Aurora, claims it is sophisticated enough to distinguish between identical twins.

    The brave BBC reporter tested the software for us.

    I underwent the procedure myself and it only took a few seconds. A camera used a near-infrared light to put a virtual mesh on my face 16 times. It merged these into one unique template and calculated all the measurements of my features.

    3D facial recognition software from Aurora Here is a computer screenshot showing you how thousands of points map your face and produce detailed measurements of what you look like
    [image] [primidi.com]
    Now, the real questions are to know if the technology gives accurate results and if it's possible to hack the system.

    The government's biometric trials for passports and identity cards have reportedly experienced a 10% error rate in face recognition. The Home Office denies this and says that in any case its trials were only testing the procedures and the public response, not the technology.

    Aurora claims its software eliminates these alleged errors. Founder Hugh Carr-Archer says: "We can't say it's 100% but we've done tests and have a zero failure rate.

    According to the police, the 3D technology is still too expensive to be widely deployed, but it continues to use successfully 2D images.

    It works by scanning an image of a suspect's face - such as a CCTV picture taken from a crime scene or a drawing based on eye-witness accounts. This produces a 2D map of the face which marks attributes such as the distance between the eyes.

    Then the computer uses an algorithm to compare the data of this face to thousands of others on a database of offenders - people who have ever been arrested or charged. Within seconds it lists the matches in order of relevance, just like a web search engine.

    Of course, this technology is not approved by the justice and can't be used in courts. But it's used by the police
    • the computer uses an algorithm to compare the data of this face to thousands of others on a database of offenders - people who have ever been arrested or charged. Within seconds it lists the matches in order of relevance, just like a web search engine.

      Am I the only one who's worried by the implicit assumption that all crimes are committed by people who've previously been arrested or charged? This technology sounds ideal if you're a policeman looking for a plausible "usual suspect" to blame for an unsolved

      • They tend to use the same assumption with other technologies too. From the Metropolitan Police Service [police.uk]: "Now the MPS Bureau has a database of 1.5 million fingerprints of people charged with offences and a collection of over 70,000 unidentified marks left at scenes of crimes."

        Or, are you suggesting they form a national database and ID card scheme? ;)
        • True, but fingerprints either match or don't match - there's a big difference between "is X in the database?" and "sort the database by similarity with X", because the latter always casts suspicion on someone who's already in the database.
      • Am I the only one who's worried by the implicit assumption that all crimes are committed by people who've previously been arrested or charged?

        Am I the only one who's worried by the assumption that someone is more likely to be a criminal just because they've been arrested, whether or not they were cautioned/tried/convicted? The police can arrest you more-or-less on a whim under the law in the UK today, and under the measures the government is pushing for, this would now be able to result in everything fr

  • This could be very useful. I carry various swipe-cards and keys for hy home, car, places of work, etc. I frequently find myself absentmindedly trying to open a lift door with a swipecard, opening house door with car alarm keyfob, etc

    This could save SO much time...
    • As long as the back of your head closes them.
    • I'd go along with it being convenient, but saving time??

      What are you going to do with all the accumulated time that you save? You can't exactly tack it on to the end of your life and enjoy a few more weeks!

      And no, I'm not having a go at you, just everything that claims to save us time. Most people seem to waste their spare time watching shitty soaps or sitcoms or reality TV (or reading slashdot :D)

    • That's what you get for removing your tin foil hat: Let me point out that none of those things you're carrying can authenticate your preasense without you wanting it to. But you can't leave your face at home or in your pocket like your keys or your card. You need a standardised personal identification token to deliver you from the confusion of multiple keys/fobs/cards (from which I myself suffer) but won't run the risk of being used without your knowledge or permission.
      • > but won't run the risk of being used without your
        > knowledge or permission.

        With regard to common software security holes I expect a face recognition system would have them, too, even if it's 100% failproof.

        If there's a security hole, someone would create an exploit .. that spreads around .. then everyone can unlock the doors you're qualified for. - That would apply for any sort of digital locking mechanism, including usual smart cards, but I think to break a system that's in use everywhere is much
  • by jocks (56885) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:27AM (#10936444) Homepage
    It is geneally agreed that the latest Queen's speech (which is a speech made by the Queen using a script given to her by the incumbent government of the day) was a feeble affair which did little to reassure an already pissed off public.

    The current Labout government run by T. Blair is generally seen to be scaremonegering over things like terrorism and crime to justify a new raft of draconian measures. Each one of these measures has been a cynical attempt to limit liberty within the UK. There has already been a government funded surevey judgning the "peoples" attitude towards ID cards which, according to the government, showed an overwhelming support for the scheme. Until, of course, it was discovered that the survey was far from impartial and the sample group was so small as to be non-representative.

    Technology aside I fear for my children's liberty, they are already unable to do the stuff I used to do as a child - like blow things up with home made gunpowder, whittle wood with a knife (yes knives are soon to be banned in this moronic country) and when they get older they won't be able to smoke a cigarette (yep, smoking is banned too).

    No, don't be lured by the technology, this is a bad thing. I hope my American cousin's don't let the president push them into accepting a loss of liberty in the name of some ficticious threat. It looks like this country is starting to fall foul of the lie that is "The war on terror"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:50AM (#10936492)
      The current Labout government run by T. Blair is generally seen to be scaremonegering over things like terrorism and crime to justify a new raft of draconian measures. Each one of these measures has been a cynical attempt to limit liberty within the UK.

      So, Blair is pretty much like the other founders of the "Coalition of the Willing" (George Bush and John Howard). It seems strange that the leaders of the historically "most free" nations are all trampling over liberty now, while the Germans and Eastern European nations complain.
      • England hasn't had a land invasion for a thousand years(ish), America hasn't had a land invasion for a hell of a long time and nor has Australia. I don't see how they can tell us that were constantly under threat.

        The countries that do stand up for the rights of there inhabitents have been invaded by people seen to be opressors (or have been governed by them).

        I think our governments are starting to feel imortal, and trying to make sure they stay that way.

    • I wish there was someone I could vote for that was both serious about the war on terror (lowercase) and the longterm need to increase security as more and more tech comes into the hands of the common man, but actually understood security, like Bruce Schneier.

      (This trend is just beginning; can you imagine what a paranoid schizophrenic could do with a nanotech desktop assembler? Schizophrenia often leaves intelligence untouched, or can even focus it...)

      This message is not political; note that while one part
  • Easy to defeat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MancDiceman (776332) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:28AM (#10936445)
    I've recently lost about 5Kgs of weight, and my face, particularly the shape, is quite different. I look at pictures of myself just 3 months old and even I look quite different. Even friends who see me every day comment on it.

    This technology could be flawed by people just gaining and losing weight. Look at pictures of people who have lost a lot of weight and you'll see their cheeks, chin, even lips all look completely different. If this system is so "accurate" it can distinguish between identical twins, what happens when people eat too many twinkies or lose a few kgs?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You're correct. Losing 5 kilograms, (for people in US, 5 kg is approx equal to 200 pounds), can change your face totaly. That's why we are constantly losing friends and not able to recognize relatives who have just lost _several_ kilograms. It's not easy, but these days as people are really, really fat, it's possible to lose 5 kilograms of fat just from your face in three months.
    • Re:Easy to defeat (Score:2, Informative)

      by portl00 (835227)
      Actually your weight loss would not effect the results of the verification. Facial Recognition Systems are based on an algorithm that measures the distance between your eyes, to your nose, to your mouth etc. Unless your weight change has effected those distances there should be no change. Congrats on the weight loss though!
    • I look at pictures of myself just 3 months old and even I look quite different

      I don't think it will be a problem...not many new borns use ATMs
    • What about if you break a cheekbone or your nose? The article states that thousands of points are measured on your face and the system remembers the "geograpahy" of your face. I'm not a doctor, but I'm sure if you break a bone, there's no guarantee that it will heal in exactly the same way as it was before, so surely your facial structure will change, and the system may not recognise you?
  • 'How your face could open doors.'

    Yo momma's so ugly that doors open whenever they see her.
  • by pedicabo (753738) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:31AM (#10936452)
    The reason we Brits aren't getting excited about this advert for a software company is very simple. It will need to get government backing. That means it will drown in red tape long before it hits the streets. The IT record of the UK government is a long list of what not to do.
    • Hmmmmm, but don't you see? This face recognition stuff is 'modern' and '21st century'. That means it must be great and wonderful and good and the answer to world hunger. It's soooooo much better than old fashioned, inefficient 20th century ways, don't you see????///??

      The british public must be sooooo stupid for not seeing this. In fact they're so stooooopid that hey, fuck 'em, who cares what they think??//!!!1111 (They're all terrorists anyway...)

      The fact is, because this has something do to with new tech
    • by bitkari (195639)
      Unfortunately the government absolutely loves CCTV. They are continually rolling out new CCTV projects all over the country - The management of which is controlled by councils not the government IT quagmire. A system that improves the effectiveness of CCTV is likely to be lapped up by the British government

      In Manchester, they've spent millions [bbc.co.uk] to blanket the city in CCTV cameras over the last few years with next to zero reduction in crime as a result. The police have started using mobile video units to

    • The UK Government's Important List of What Not To Do in IT:

      1 -- Employ EBS
      2 -- Employ EBS for pretty well every contract
      3 -- Pay strangely high fees to EBS
      4 -- Never complain when EBS fucks up, just start a new contract
      5 -- Anything else to do with EBS

      I can remember when the UK was pretty well without corruption at the national level, and it _wasn't even long ago_. Remember how terrible it seemed in Major's time when someone got a kickback for asking a question? It would just be line noise now.
      • EDS

        I can remember when the UK was pretty well without corruption at the national level, and it _wasn't even long ago_

        You mean like Mark Thatcher's arms negotiations? Or tied ECGD loans to arms buyers? Or Tory MPs sitting on corporate boards? Or Thatcher's subsidies to large land owners (eg Tory Lords) etc etc etc. Labour just don't bother hiding it like the Tories did

        • Yeah... it just seems so small now, compared to rail privatization / utilities privatization. It's true that the Tories did hide it -- question is, does Labor not hide it because they understand the English and know they don't need to, or because they tried to but aren't very good at it? I used to think the former, but I changed my mind after the Mowlam and Byers affairs because they just looked so amateurish.

  • Wasn't there a failed trail of face recognition by one of the UK police forces - they installed software that would match faces of known offenders with live CCTV footage and identify them. However, I believe it was a complete disaster, and the system identified nearly all false positives. I can't quite remember the police force in question, but the software was from a US company specialising in biometrics...again, I'm not sure which one exactly.
  • CCTV Footage? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by zmollusc (763634)
    CCTV must have come on in leaps and bounds recently. The pictures from CCTV footage that are shown on tv (Does anyone recognise this man seen robbing a post office last week) are usually of appalling quality.
  • by Etiol (672326)

    To be honest, I think it's reasonable to limit children's access to explosives.

    Obviously knives aren't being banned - chefs would get a little upset. Carrying an "offensive weapon" [which can be pretty much anything if the police know how to frame a leading question] has been against the law since the year dot, and has never stopped me carrying a pen-knife.

    As for smoking, it's being banned in public places [except pubs that don't serve food], which again sounds reasonable to me.

    I'm much more worried a

  • When they can't even get the acronyms right?

    Using facial biometrics provides an added, more accurate level of verification than such systems as an ID card (which can be lost or stolen) or a pin number (which can be forgotten or used fraudulently).

    Am I the only one in the WORLD who knows what the "N" in "PIN" stands for?

    Jeez...and I wanted to think that the lack of knowledge was limited to telephone monkeys and cashiers...

  • similar faces (Score:5, Informative)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @09:25AM (#10936731)
    the "distinquish identical twins" is hype and irrelevant.

    As with all such systems it doesn't recognise faces but a metric derived from the face. It's entirely possible that two or more different faces can have the same metric (within the limits of the measuring process.)

    So what do you do if someone matches your metric and is a terrorist? Unless you solve the false positive problem, and in a population of a billion people there are always going to be many false positives, you haven't solved face recognition.

    This is not a theoretical problem. Already people have been falsely imprisoned because their DNA matches some found at a crime scene.

    This quest for perfect identification is a waste of time and money.
  • Facial similarity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ljubom (147499)
    What about following scenario: Somebody commit a crime, but he is not in the database. You look similar, thus in "search engine" you will have a high position. There are witnesses, but you look similar (you know, it was night, fog, but it could be...), and computer says it's you. Bingo!
  • usually gets doors slammed in it. That, or slapped. So now I have a new kind of abuse to look forward to?
  • Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost@@@syberghost...com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:23AM (#10936892) Homepage
    UK police departments have been using 3D biometric facial recognition since the day they first opened their doors. All they're doing now is supplementing expensive trained officers with cheaper new tools.

    Seriously, if you people are technophobes on this level, you should log off right now and sell your computer. You can probably use the money to buy enough wood to build a shack in the mountains somewhere.

    Oh, wait, you'd never survive that way; you're probably a hoplophobe, too.
  • by Ian.Waring (591380) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:08AM (#10937071) Homepage
    I once chaired a security meeting at a large UK telco, and was seated in a chair with a grandstand view of a device that let people into a very secure area of the building if they allowed it to examine their iris.

    Seemed to work impressively until three people showed up at the door, one spied into the iris reader, door opened and the other two just tailgated through.

    • Seemed to work impressively until three people showed up at the door, one spied into the iris reader, door opened and the other two just tailgated through.

      We're constantly reminded at work how security is our responsibility but they're too mean to install one simple piece of technology that would actually stop people getting in without a swipe card - a one-person-at-a-time turnstile system. Instead we're all supposed to stop people tailgating us and check they have a valid id. Of course, no-one does this
  • Face recognition software has never worked. And by that i mean that it has never caught a criminal. Ever. It's never happened.

    Funny thing is, it's not a new concept. Before the advent of fingerprinting, law enforcement in a number of countries used a hand measured set of facial metrics to identify criminals.

    One of the events that precipitated widespread fingerprinting was a day when a guy was picked up for being a shady character who looked just like a guy on a wanted poster. They get him in, start measur
    • Facial Recognition software has never caught a criminal..........I agree. But, the officer looking at the results of the image search and resulting possible matches has. I worked on a "Project Bluebear" for two years where three linked Ontario Police Services and a courthouse simultaneously and securely searched and shared biometric and text records data. I retired in July/04 after 32 years in law enforcement and 25 in Forensics where I saw the identifications/verifications that resulted from an image lo
  • The company claims its software is so sophisticated it can make the distinction between identical twins

    Is it just me, or does something seem to be missing from this sentence? For example -- injection of proposed content >> -- "however the software failed to recognize a Halliburton executive from a West-African Pygmy ".

    Just walk around the airport with a goofy look on your face. You'll never be suspected ... by the facial recognition equipment. Or better yet come through the cafeteria with chunks o

  • by Glonoinha (587375)
    'How your face could open doors.'

    Hah - that's nothing. At work there is a woman with a face that can stop a train.
  • I'd like to have some cameras installed overlooking Washington DC restaurants and bars popular with lobbyists and members of Congress. Preload it with photos of lobbyists and politicians, and start correlating meetings with votes in Congress.

    That would get some attention.

  • I know a thing or two about computer vision, and this isn't even close to working well in a general sense.

    You can match a face to an image on file, maybe, if the conditions (lighting, perspective, facial hair, glasses) are similar. Often you need the face hand cropped from the background for the training image.

    You can maybe extend this for a security system that can say if someone who doesn't belong is entering the system. In this case, you can control all the elements listed above, and the ok-list is sma
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Comments on 3-D face recognition in United Kingdom

    A few comments:

    1. The claimed performance of the Aurora system seems unlikely. There is a long history of exaggerated claims by companies marketing face recognition products. For example, see news coverage of face recognition immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    Face recognition is quite difficult:

    Faces vary over time due to natural aging, gain or loss of weight, weathering of the face due to environmental factors, changes in facia
  • Blunkett (Score:5, Interesting)

    by carldot67 (678632) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:08PM (#10938418)
    Non-UK readers should be aware that David Blunkett, the UK Foreign Minister and parent of this god-forsaken legislation often uses the old "you can trust us with your data - it's not like we're the Nazis or anything" line when people complain about ID cards, biometrics and all the other good stuff he has in mind.

    Non-UK readers shuld also be aware that Blunkett this week is facing charges of inappropriate behaviour when he was caught personally intervening in the visa application for his mistress' new nanny.

    I find myself needing to give my face/fingerprints to a man who would appear to be a corrupt adulterer. How excellent is that.
  • Just for once I'm going to leave the social implications of this technology to other commentators, and look at it from a detached, purely mathematical standpoint. What is going on in this software is basically shape recognition. And the mathematical implications of having a shape-recognition system that can apply to something as imprecise and diverse as human faces are as important IMHO as the social ones.

    While I don't have a formal proof -- I'll leave that up to the daylights-boring-out faction of the

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