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App Uses Facial Profiling To Identify Perps

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-non-perps-as-well dept.

Crime 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.

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Welcome to the Prison of Life (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769152)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Prison of Life (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769512)

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!

Re:Welcome to the Prison of Life (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770954)

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? :)

Re:Welcome to the Prison of Life (0)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769574)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Prison of Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770046)

Creepily reminds me of the movie "Minority Report"

The nine rings (1)

carpus (207992) | more than 3 years ago | (#36774856)

And nine...nine rings were gifted to the race of Men...who above all else, desire power.

In the less advanced parts of the world (1)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769156)

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.

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (1)

nbetcher (973062) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769666)

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.

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769936)

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 governments to control
all citizens. I doubt this will end well, or soon.

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772514)

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 evidence available they will start by hauling in anyone who comes close to matching it (like fingerprints there is rarely an exact match). There are endless reports of innocent people being arrested and questioned because of this policy. It has also lead to the collapse of several high profile cases such as the Omagh bombing. In that case the DNA evidence was weak so the lab "amplified" it to get enough material for a match. They found matches for one Irish guy and one random schoolboy, which the defence used to demonstrate that the prosecution's sole bit of evidence linking the accused to the crime was unreliable.

Some people are calling for everyone's DNA to be taken at birth, but that would only make things worse.

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (1)

rta (559125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772606)

Creepily enough... i just read that the CIA ran a vaccination program in Pakistan to secretly collect blood in their search for Bin Laden. []

But that's ok because you see they were looking for bad people. "the government" only throws out all the rules when they're looking for "bad guys".. Fortunately i'm a good guy and thus i don't have anything to worry about.

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770040)

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

That is not true. []

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (1)

Mass Overkiller (1999306) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771280)

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.

Re:In the less advanced parts of the world (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36774750)

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, or months? After his face in on the front page, his wife leaves him, and he loses his job and gets death threats for the rest of his life?

THAT'S FACIST. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769168)

Racial profilng is racist.

Therefore facial profiling is facist!

*ba dum ching*


e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769238)

Personally, I would have chosen "fascist", but facist works, too.


Medevilae (1456015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769264)

That's how I had read it the first time.


Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769416)

As Rainier Wolfcastle would say: "That's the joke."


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769554)

Personally, I would have chosen "fascist", but facist works, too.

I think you are very close to getting his joke. :-)


e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769604)

I think his joke was very close to being right.

The name? (2)

twocows (1216842) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769170)

And it would be called "iSpy."

Need More (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769182)

It is not only those arrested nor those convicted that need to be measured. Often a criminal may do certain things and not leave enough evidence to support an arrest or even make them comply with an interview. Some of the smarter criminals are very good at not suffering their first arrest. Merely being a person of some interest near a crime may be enough to establish deep investigation when you see that same individual somehow in the inner circle of a crime report over and over again.

Databases can be hacked and tampered with.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769196)

Technology cannot solve problems created by human stupidity, ego, greed and shortsightedness.

Re:Databases can be hacked and tampered with.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769276)

Technology cannot solve problems created by human stupidity, ego, greed and shortsightedness.

But there's so much of all of that all around! Why can't technology solve those kinds of problems? What should we do?

1984 Anyone? (1)

SpockLogic (1256972) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769218)

"It's for your own good citizen"


"Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eurasia"

Huge Pickles (0)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769288)

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"?

All the more reason to use Bitcoins (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769306)

They're anonymous and you don't need to have your iris scanned to use them.

Still Waiting For Faceback (1)

Nukedoom (1776114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769322)

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?

GIGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769424)

Although there is no scientific proof that fingerprints aren't unique, and therefore can only be used as exculpatory evidence, there is little doubt that your fingerprints don't change (unless you injure the skin deeply enough). But your iris changes constantly. In fact, some alternative medicine practioners can diagnose ailments by looking for features in the iris that indicate trouble in different organ systems. Sort of like reflexology of the eyes. See iridology for details.

Re:GIGO (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770168)

Your Iris can change every time you pop in contacts or take them out. Check out these Colored Contacts [] .

Can police compel removal of a medically prescribed device just to take a picture? I would bet they couldn't.

On your other point, about finger prints, its true you can't prove a negative. However, in all of the human experience with fingerprints world-wide, no two fingerprints from different digits have ever been found to match exactly. Even identical twins differ. Prints are better than DNA in this case, as long as they are good quality prints.

Examiners and encoders may error, and the classification system and computer storage is not precise, and was never intended to be. But when given two prints to view almost any random adult can tell you when they are different. And two trained examiners virtually never disagree when visually examining two images.

Rev 13:16-17 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769466)

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Facial recognition least of your worries (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769486)

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/model of vehicle, and license plate number are all available in a database that is updated in real time.

But you can worry about that guy with the cell phone if you'd like... I'm sure he's a bigger threat to your privacy.

Re:Facial recognition least of your worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769842)

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

Re:Facial recognition least of your worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770122)

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

Re:Facial recognition least of your worries (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770196)

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.

Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769496)

A desirable and important use my eye!

Terrific. (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769592)

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?

Re:Terrific. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770232)

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.

false positives for the win (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769658)

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

already in use for years at the border (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36769792)

I have a Nexus (preferred traveler) card for travel across the US and Canadian borders. After a lengthy application, background check, and interview, I was fingerprinted and iris scanned. My irises are my ID for crossing the US border.

Yours are probably next...

This news is 10 years old... (2)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769858)

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 happens to crime. When crime goes up the cameras get the credit for detecting it, and when crime goes down, they get the credit for preventing it."

Excellent Word Choice (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36769994)

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

Google is the all-seeing-eye of the internet (1)

SD NFN STM (759426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770108)

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: []

Fail. Turn in your geek card. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36771184)

Adblock plus - []
Ghostery - []
BetterPrivacy - []

Don't bother modding me up. This reply is only for SD NFN STM and is a Clue (TM)

Re:Fail. Turn in your geek card. (1)

SD NFN STM (759426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36774302)

Thanks for the tips, but actually, I like to help Slashdot generate some revenue from their advertising... so I've chosen to leave advertising on (even though Slashdot will let me turn it off with a single click), and thus I have no need to block it.

Whether you like it or not ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770210)

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 not be able to detain a person purely upon a computer generated result and should use their existing procedures while identifying an individual (e.g. to avoid false positives). The use of the data in situations where a person would normally expect privacy (e.g. in their home) should also be curtailed.

not as useful to collect (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770360)

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.

Great! I'm all for it! (4, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770386)

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!

Re:Great! I'm all for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36770966)

ya, like a cop is just going to let you hold a camera 5-6 inches away from thier face.

Re:Great! I'm all for it! (3, Insightful)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36771524)

They aren't going to let civilians buy it. Just like tasers it is a completely innocuous technology...that is far too dangerous to be in the hands of the public.

Re:Great! I'm all for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36772686)

And police will wear full face masks from now on. It will be illegal for anyone else to wear face masks e.g. burka or motorcycle helmet. They will be compelled under law to remove them.

Re:Great! I'm all for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36776148)

That would be the logical outcome, but you forget how police detest their authority being challenged. I think recent events have shown that while police are happy to use technology against the public, they will arrest, intimidate those using it and destroy the technology if there is an attempt to use it against the police. The case where the police tried to frame a lady for causing an accident, the full police cruiser dash cam footage was edited, the lawyer had to do some serious digging before he was able to find the unedited footage proving her innocent. The many cases where police have confiscated/destroyed phones & cameras after a beating or death at their hands. The case where a homeowner was arrested for video taping his own porch when officers were trying to illegally force their way onto the premises. (0)

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Why is this news? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36770998)

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.

This will make us safer (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772230)

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?

Needs work? (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772454)

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?

Horrible Vision from (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36773210)

There must be a limit to this scanning process or they will start scanning people at the airports soon. Fingerprints are already collected.

All of us will be fined for every mistake that we make without even knowing what the mistake was. We will become suspects just for passing a street after a crime and tracked by molesters in official positions.

Solutions to limit scanning, anyone ?

New Apple motto (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36773356)

Think Police State

iTunes link? Source code? (2)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36773654)

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.

One month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36773930)

I give it a month (after if becomes widespread) before it identifies some innocent person as a murderer.

Seriously, all of these tech solutions for crime sound great on paper. But in real life they're ineffective and/or used for far less noble purposes. Plate readers were touted to "stop car thieves and terrorists", now that they're used in quite a few police departments I think they're using them for the most part to catch people who aren't up to date on their license/registration/fees/taxes/etc. I've even heard of cases where a person lost their license and lent their vehicle to a friend, that friend kept getting pulled over solely because the plat readers kept flagging it that the owner of the car was without their license. They'll tout it as a way to "catch criminals", but before too long it'll be used to mass collect biometric data from as many people as they can and take you in if you haven't payed your tickets.

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