writes "Emily Steel writes that a new iPhone accessory that uses a picture of the person's face or iris to identify them will help police units identify suspects and look up their criminal record. To scan a person's iris, police officers can hold the special iris-scanning camera on device, called MORIS, about 5 to 6 inches away from an individual's irises. After snapping a high resolution photo, the MORIS system analyzes 235 unique features in each iris and uses an algorithm to match that person with their identity if they are in the database. To use the facial recognition system an officer takes a photo of a person at a distance of about 2 feet to 5 feet that analyzes about 130 distinguishing points on the face (video), such as the distance between a person's eye and nose, then scans the database for likely matches. Bernard Melekian says challenges remain in developing guidelines for the proper use of the mobile recognition technology for police work. 'If the purpose is to determine instantly an individual's identity and determine whether they are wanted or have serious criminal history, that is not only a desirable use, it is an important use,' says Melekian. 'To simply collect information on individuals to add to the database would not in my opinion be a desirable use of the technology.'"
The range of offenses for which conviction (and sometimes mere arrest) now triggers the collection of DNA samples is expanding; I suspect that iris information, seemingly less intrusive to collect, will soon enough become part of applications for passports, driver's licenses, and concealed carry permits.