Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Crime Privacy Technology Your Rights Online

App Uses Facial Profiling To Identify Perps 62

Hugh Pickens 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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

App Uses Facial Profiling To Identify Perps

Comments Filter:
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @06:14PM (#36769152) Homepage Journal

    You have your number.

    But don't bother waiting for a turn...

    Somehow, I don't think that any of this is compatible with the classical conception of a representative, parliamentary republic.

    • Somehow, I don't think that any of this is compatible with the classical conception of a representative, parliamentary republic.

      Perfect! Coming to a TSA checkpoint near you!

      • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

        Anybody else reminded of the movie Pluto Nash (which I actually really liked) and that you needed police approval and involvement to get plastic surgery? :)

    • Such technology certainly does make one worry about fishing expeditions. Now police work can be nothing more than sitting in a vehicle taking pictures of people and looking for criminals. And, of course, there's no need for warrants to do this sort of thing (I can think of at least a dozen lies off the top of my head once I have a "perp" in my sights). I'm glad I don't really look like anyone else.
    • And nine...nine rings were gifted to the race of Men...who above all else, desire power.

  • We already have such an I.D. device - it's called a National ID card.
    If the police stops you and you aren't carrying one, it's fully within their right to ask you to go along to the station and get identified there plus whatever bacground checks needed.
    • In the United States it was determined by the supreme court that requiring someone to identify him/herself is unconstitutional*. That ruling is part of the reason Arizona is having difficulty implementing a requirement for anyone to be subject to identification or jailed. This technology defeats that right. Of course this is just for the United States, but none-the-less. * Article posted previously to Slashdot.
      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        True enough, but to get a driver's license they almost always take a photo.
        In the past that photo was of rather low quality, shot on Polaroid film and not retained.

        I would expect this to change, and the picture will be taken in very high quality, stored in a data base, and used for
        this type of application. All unbeknownst to the applicant.

        Any pretense to photograph you will then quickly yield an instant ID without even touching you.

        Its not just the US either. There seems to be a world wide rush by governme

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Meh, we have had routine taking of DNA samples for over a decade now. Anyone who is arrested, even if they are not charged, will have their DNA taken and put in the police database. There is no official procedure for getting your DNA removed if you are later found innocent or not even charged, but some people have managed to get it done after a year or two of asking repeatedly and legal representation.

          The database is causing us a lot of problems. The police seem to be extremely lazy, if there is DNA evidenc

      • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:39PM (#36770040) Journal

        In the United States it was determined by the supreme court that requiring someone to identify him/herself is unconstitutional*.

        That is not true. []

        • The link your cited refers only to identifying yourself via name. You are still not required to provide a license or ID card. You must simply tell the officer your name, thus providing identification. On technical grounds, if you are driving for example, in order to drive you must have a valid license, which an officer can request and you must provide. But legally, if you are walking around you don't need an ID. Good luck without one I guess but that's the ruling.
          • Yes, but they can still finger print you and confirm if you are lying. That's the real issue here. You may not have to have a card at all anymore. What terrifies civil libertarians is what you do with a technology that is not 100% accurate. What happens with Joe Smoe's picture pulls up a 3 time rapist with a warrent out? What happens when the system sucks Joe in, and he has an uphill battle fighting a computer over his real identity. Yes, in all likelihood, Joe will get out... but when? Days, weeks, o

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Racial profilng is racist.

    Therefore facial profiling is facist!

    *ba dum ching*

  • by twocows ( 1216842 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @06:15PM (#36769170)
    And it would be called "iSpy."
  • Technology cannot solve problems created by human stupidity, ego, greed and shortsightedness.

  • "It's for your own good citizen"


    "Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eurasia"

  • This sort of tracking, still feels better than this....! []

  • Is there some reason why Hugh Pickens submits every single news article that he finds? Is he really that obsessive-compulsive? Is he trying to become an unofficial Slashdot editor?

    And, seriously, "Hugh Pickens writes writes"?

  • Scanning people's eyeballs is all fine and whatnot, but what about the back of their heads? Can we get a back-to-face app here?

  • While you're all worrying about whether or not your face will be entered into some large database, you should know that many major retailers (such as Target, whom I worked for) have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology on their parking lot cameras. In fact, at least out there, the only two purposes of outdoor cameras is to capture license places and pictures of people's faces exiting the store. Since most of you use credit cards, your face, credit card, name, billing address, gender, make/mo

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Only diff is that Target doesn't have the power of arrest..

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If only it was possible to be concerned about more than one thing!

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      Yeah, we've all seen those grainy images, and we all know the pathetic arrest rate in robberies and shoplifting.

      Would seem Target and others should invest in camera technology at least as good as that sold in their own stores.

  • I have 129 facial points that look exactly like Charlie Sheen. Could be worse, but still not a great hand to be dealt. But I'm not alone: 130 facial points factored by 7B people on earth, what were my chances of this, exactly?
    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      The technology was never meant to identify precisely. Just to give a list of candidates, more for exclusionary purposes. When Charlie walks down the street, regardless of how stoned he may be, the technology won't confuse him with George Bush or even Martin Sheen. You, on the other hand may be asked were you were last night.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am sure it won't give false positives, and that juries won't believe that it is infallible - oh wait...

  • Straight after 2001-09-11 there was a clamour for more CCTV. Britain was already riddled with the things and they're getting better and better at recognising "known" criminals. Big Brother really is watching you. This article from the New York Times nearly 10 years ago rings very true and is well worth the time taken to read in its entirety: []
    I particularly shuddered at the quote:
    "But CCTV cameras have a mysterious knack for justifying themselves regardless of what
  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:34PM (#36769994) Journal

    To a computer, you're not human, you're just data. You're either a perp, or a potential perp.

  • Is it just me... or does anyone else find having this banner avert at at the top of this story funny, and a little bit creepy: []

    It links here if you're interested: []

  • Whether you like it or not, you're going to lose some privacy when you're in a public space. Unless you go walking around wearing a mask or a disguise, you will lose your ability to conceal your identity because there's always a chance that someone can recognize. The only difference in this case is that the someone may be a machine.

    If there are any restrictions on this technology, it should be based upon how the information is used rather than the use of the tool itself. For example, the police should no

  • You leave fingerprints and DNA behind and hence a big database of them is useful for the police to have in solving crimes. Of course you don't want your information in there because false positives happen at the very least.

    But an Iris scan is really only useful in finding the a database match for the person standing in front of you. Good for ID purposes, not that useful for the police - they'd much rather have your fingerprints or DNA so they can compare it with the stuff they find at crime scenes.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @08:13PM (#36770386) Homepage Journal

    I'll just betcha this app works on police, too!

    We could take a facial scan whenever we interact with a policeman, get a list of prior complaints and check out review sites.

    We could find out whether he's been accused of rights violations, racist behaviour, corruption - and the percent chance that he'll settle out of court versus fighting a conviction.

    So... this tech will help keep me safe from criminals *and* cops?

    I love this new tech! Let's do it! Woo-hoo!

  • MORIS has been around since 2009. What happened recently is that they made the iPhone dock slightly smaller and rotated the camera 90 degrees so officers could hold the phone in portrait mode instead of landscape mode when snapping pictures.
  • Because now what we can do is put the TSA on the streets and randomly check people on the streets. This will make it unpossible for terrorists to attack us in crowded places as so many people here kindly warned us about would be easy to do.

    Citizens, do not be alarmed. This is for YOUR safety.

    On another note, if the terrorists hate us because our freedom, do they like us more now?

  • The iris scan instantly matched suspects to past criminal records, but the fingerprint scanning still needed some work, says William Conlon, Brocktonâ(TM)s chief of police. âoeIt has a lot of promise, it just wasnâ(TM)t quite ready when we had it,â he says. In other words, MORIS is finicky?
  • Think Police State
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @08:25AM (#36773654) Homepage Journal

    I've wanted an App like that on my iPhone ever since I got it. Actually, I've wanted one for wearable computing since the first prototypes.

    See, I have a great memory for faces, and a horrible memory for names and other details. I see people all the time and know that I know them - but I can't recall anything about them. Sometimes, a minute or two of hard thinking and it comes back to me. Sometimes I have to start up a conversation and hope that hints drop.

    I'd love to death an App that I can point at someone and it matches their face to my database and shows me the Contacts entry with name, birthday and notes.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.