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Boston Police Chief: Facial Recognition Tech Didn't Help Find Bombing Suspects

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the standing-out-in-a-crowd dept.

Crime 235

SternisheFan writes "ArsTechnica reports: 'While the whole country is relieved that this past week's Boston Marathon bombing ordeal and subsequent lockdown of the city is finally over, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told the Washington Post that the department's facial recognition system "did not identify" the two bombing suspects. "The technology came up empty even though both Tsarnaevs' images exist in official databases: Dzhokhar had a Massachusetts driver's license; the brothers had legally immigrated; and Tamerlan had been the subject of some FBI investigation," the Post reported on Saturday. Facial recognition systems can have limited utility when a grainy, low-resolution image captured at a distance from a cellphone camera or surveillance video is compared with a known, high-quality image. Meanwhile, the FBI is expected to release a large-scale facial recognition apparatus "next year for members of the Western Identification Network, a consortium of police agencies in California and eight other Western states," according to the San Jose Mercury News. Still, video surveillance did prove extremely useful in pinpointing the suspects.'"

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Enhance it and zoom in (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514619)

Rinse and repeat

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514679)

If only all those millions of security cameras were as good as they are on TV. But they aren't. The images they produce are shitty and worthless. So they identified the suspects by having FBI agents sitting at a monitor and watching video over and over and over.

But that won't stop the FBI from rolling out yet another billion dollar boondoggle facial recognition system.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (4, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514863)

What? You mean you can't "Zoom and enhance" a 640x480 video to the point that you can see the fingerprint left on a window 25' away

Unfortunately, I know people that actually think that stuff is legit. Which of course leads to "fun" arguments / questions about "Why can't you do THIS, I see them do it on TV all the time."

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515651)

Consumer networked security cameras all tend to be 640x480. A car doesn't have to be very far away for the license plate to be unreadable for the typical camera. Facial images aren't any better..

Not to mention, apparently the police have instance access to every security camera in America, including the older ones still recording to VHS.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515809)

No, right after the bombings they asked everyone to switch their systems into preservation mode and give them the tape. I heard some report of the FBI receiving thousands of tapes.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514877)

Maybe it won't. But I'm still glad that at least this event didn't give another argument to those who want to plaster our streets with security cameras.
At least now we can still fight back. Imagine the uphill battle if it had actually worked; no one would have cared about the privacy implications.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515253)

No, you see this is the exact reason we need more of everything.

More cameras, new facial recognition software. To protect our freedoms.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (1)

iamgnat (1015755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515779)

Maybe it won't. But I'm still glad that at least this event didn't give another argument to those who want to plaster our streets with security cameras.

What do you think this statement is about then? "Oh gosh, the old and inferior system we have now isn't good enough so we'll just have to be happy with it the way it is" I think not. This is clearly an early play in the "well if we had X we could have prevented/resolved this in a better/faster manner".

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (4, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514905)

It should be noted that the old facial recognition software worked just fine. It was the fancy new computer based facial recognition software that failed.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514923)

It wouldn't be called progress if it weren't for many iterations of failures and varying degrees of success.
There is always room for improvement. The problem is in factoring is the chance at improvement worth the risk, cost, and time.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (5, Informative)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515351)

Actually, even low resolution cameras can be really useful, under certain conditions. If the suspect stands still for a few frames, the images can sometimes be enhanced due to motion differences between the frames. The process is like anti-aliasing in reverse.

In the video clips i saw on the news the suspects were walking, and the differences between frames looked too great to get the kind of data needed to interpolate.

If you're interested in seeing this done in a non-fakey-CSI application, Thierry Legault is an astrophotographer who uses frame interpolation to produce amazingly clear shots of objects like the ISS. See his site here to learn more: http://legault.perso.sfr.fr/ [perso.sfr.fr]

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515371)

If only all those millions of security cameras were as good as they are on TV. But they aren't. The images they produce are shitty and worthless.

Except they might be that good. The images recorded from newer IP cameras can be pretty amazing. [axis.com] Especially if you're recording at full resolution.

Some of the images released were at least megapixel resolution.

Re:Enhance it and zoom in (3, Funny)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515067)

Did the software beep enough? It needs to beep for each magnitude you zoom in.

Best if every face scanned is shown on screen next to the original and beep.

Maybe next time (1)

second_coming (2014346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514623)

.. use Google Picasa :D

Re:Maybe next time (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514665)

Damn, I entered specifically to say that.
Picasa is awesomely good at matching grainy images.

Re:Maybe next time (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514759)

I dunno, I ran Picasa on my pr0n dir, and it gets all the Czech models mixed up all the time.

But I guess that just means the face recognition software is American...
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/04/czech-republic-ambassador-dont-confuse-us-with-chechnya/ [go.com]

Re:Maybe next time (3, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515541)

I dunno, I ran Picasa on my pr0n dir, and it gets all the Czech models mixed up all the time.

There's your problem- you're using face recognition. Looks like there's a need for an extension so the recognition software can look further south...

Re:Maybe next time (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515357)

Damn, I entered specifically to say that.
Picasa is awesomely good at matching grainy images.

When the images are from low res surveillance cameras that are worn out, have crappy lenses that are into the bargain grimy and the faces you are trying to match are not full frontal or profile shots you Picasa sucks just as much as anything else.

Indeed (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514635)

Computers are not magic.

Re:Indeed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514975)

tell that to my users, please.

And add that I am not a magician.

CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514647)

Can anyone explain the presence of Craft International (Security Contractors) at the marathon?

Do Security Contractors frequently monitor events like this?

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514689)

Can anyone explain the presence of Craft International (Security Contractors) at the marathon?

Do Security Contractors frequently monitor events like this?

Maybe they were hired by the Boston Marathon. Or maybe your tinfoil hat is loose.

GP raises a good point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515355)

Are you dim? Perhaps you should answer his question with a fact rather than conjecture.

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515551)

Can anyone explain the presence of Craft International (Security Contractors) at the marathon?

Do Security Contractors frequently monitor events like this?

Maybe they were hired by the Boston Marathon. Or maybe your tinfoil hat is loose.

Actually, it's too tight.

WAAAAY too tight.

Remember - fire can't melt steel. Thousands of years of blacksmithing is nothing but a conspiracy. Horsehoes don't really exist.

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515579)

Craft International does not provide security for events. Their work primarily consists of advisory and consulting regarding explosives. A little research goes a long way to establishing basic facts such as these.

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514711)

You must be new around here.....

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514875)

Can anyone explain the presence of Craft International (Security Contractors) at the marathon?

Do Security Contractors frequently monitor events like this?

Seems to me that if they were up to something nefarious, they wouldn't have worn their company logo.

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515019)

Ohhhh, sorry.

I was not suggesting that they were involved in the bombing. I just would like know if this is standard practice. If so, fine.

If not, was there intel that demanded security contractors to be present?

You can see where I'm going with this. What was know beforehand?

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515595)

No, if they were up to something nefarious then _obviously_ they would have placed subtle clues in the form of riddles around the scene, then altered photographs to place actors who had been at other bombings at the scene, arranging them so that if you wrote out their middle initials in reverse chronological order they spelled the name "E. Nygma", which is a pseudonym for the shadowy figure behind Craft International Security.

Don't you people know how the New World Order works? They _want_ to be found out, and if you stare long enough at their handiwork you can always spot the clues. That's why they spend so much time forming preposterously complicated conspiracies involving as many people and organizations as possible.

Did you know that if you took any 57 members of the so-called FBI and put them in the same room, at least two of them would have the same birthday? It's because they're all cloned from alien DNA. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515003)

Yes, it's quite common to have security guards around for major events. They typically watch for potential thieves or people that want to disrupt the event. They'd have been hired by the event coordinators, and the event coordinators would decide what their exact responsibilities would be.

CAPTCHA for the paranoid: invaders

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515085)

Yes, it's quite common to have security guards around for major events. They typically watch for potential thieves or people that want to disrupt the event. They'd have been hired by the event coordinators, and the event coordinators would decide what their exact responsibilities would be.

Agreed. Security Guards, that is to be expected.

But the guys that were present seemed far too well equipped to be security guards. They also stood back from assisting the wounded, which suggests they well exceptionally well trained. Not the pick pocket preventing types, but collect intel types.

I mean, I would be shaken during an event like that. The Craft International guys stayed real cool, and kept observing.

Re:CRAFT INTERNATIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515543)

It's somewhat standard practice for do-badders to plant a second device near the site of the first device. Careless do-gooders who rush to the scene to help are then the next victims. A bunch of former SOCOM security contractors certainly know about this tactic all too well.

Wrong procedure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514673)

The correct procedure when the images are small and grainy is to magnify them and then use imaging processing software such as photo shop to bring out details. This only takes a few seconds. MI5 and CSI, have had really good success with this for years and Hollywood for decades.

Re:Wrong procedure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515587)

The correct procedure when the images are small and grainy is to magnify them and then use imaging processing software such as photo shop to bring out details. This only takes a few seconds. MI5 and CSI, have had really good success with this for years and Hollywood for decades.

Jesus H. Fucking Christ. Don't believe what you see on TV.

No image processing software can extract information that isn't there.

And in a crappy low-resolution image, the information isn't there.

Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Informative)

bc90021 (43730) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514695)

If I'm not mistaken, the CCTV footage was not as useful... what did help was the one man who took a picture of the bomber (unbeknownst to him at the time), and more importantly, the unfortunate man whose legs were blown off at the knees who valiantly gave an ID from his hospital bed.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514803)

If you want to donate some money to help this courageous man with his (what will be considerable) medical expenses, here is the link. [gofundme.com]

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514827)

We should petition the whitehouse to include all the victims of the bombing without health insurance to buy into medicare/medicaid or federal employees health insurace scheme. The premia to join may be paid from the general accident victims compensation fund or through donations.

BTW if we have a single payer health insurance system, this would not even be an issue.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514843)

Such things are always handled much more efficiently by the private market. If we had single payer, every Tom, Dick, and Harry would be going to the doctor every time they got a sniffle and the bill would be Trillions. If you are successful and smart you will go to the doctor only when you need to, and you will be able to pay with cash you have earned previously. I maintain my own insurance and everyone else should do the same.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514939)

You should first understand what you mean by "efficiency". Efficiency in private sector is making maximum possible money for private companies. If providing goods and services at the lowest price to the consumer is the only way to make money, they will do so. All the benefits of private sector comes only when there is high degree of competition between the private companies and there is an informed consumers making rational choices to provide feedback. In the present private sector health care, people are not free to switch their health care providers, it is being bundled with their employment. The moment the customers are not able to switch the competition disappears. At this point private sector will continually sacrifice service for profits. It is as simple as that.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (5, Insightful)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515505)

All the benefits of private sector comes only when there is high degree of competition between the private companies and there is an informed consumers making rational choices to provide feedback.

This is the biggest myth about health care: That people make "rational, informed" choices. They don't. You don't have an appendix attack and shop around to a few hospitals to see who has the best rate: They put you in the ambulance and you go to the closest place with a resource available to save your life. As for a "free market" in health care, that's an interesting academic discussion, but certainly isn't something that will ever exist in the real world.

There is a massive barrier to entry in providing services: You can't just up and become a doctor. There's licensing, education, and liability insurance premiums. In a "free market" new providers would rush to provide the service that has become so rare that the price spiked. But that's an 8-12 years pipeline to add new doctors, and a 2-6 year pipeline for new RNs, MSNs. And all of that adds up to this: It isn't really a free market, and there probably isn't much hope of it ever becoming one because sick patients will always be mostly frightened and want the first option that saves their lives. Our society will never allow any random to person to just say "I'm a doctor!" and provide medical care. So we're stuck: We can't grow the supply of doctors and high-skill nurses fast enough to provide care for all the sick people, and we can't get sick people to say "fuck you! I'd rather die than pay that much!" (yet) so that's where it stands.

It ain't a "free market," and it can't become a "Free market" in the foreseeable future. Get back to me if mankind can evolve out of mortal fear for his own existence to the point where he can "shop around" for the cheapest E.R. after he breaks a leg, gets hit by a car, or has an appendix attack.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515639)

It ain't a "free market," and it can't become a "Free market" in the foreseeable future. Get back to me if mankind can evolve out of mortal fear for his own existence to the point where he can "shop around" for the cheapest E.R. after he breaks a leg, gets hit by a car, or has an appendix attack.

I agree with you. It is not a free market. At this point the rational thing to do is either support a single payer healthcare system, or let poor people who can't pay for their healthcare suffer without bothering our conscience.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515657)

This is the biggest myth about health care: That people make "rational, informed" choices. ... There is a massive barrier to entry in providing services ... It ain't a "free market,"

Good arguments, but no good ideologue will let reality interfere with his beliefs.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515759)

I don't shop around for Healthcare because I KNOW IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE. Thanks to Insurance all medical costs are A: More or less the same no matter where I go and B: Completely obfuscated from the consumer.

Without the insurance regime I know in advance that healthcare is my responsibility and I do what most people use to do: I find myself a good GP who doesn't cost an arm and a leg long before I'm ever in crises.

Just because things are this way now does NOT mean this is the only way things can be.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515797)

All the benefits of private sector comes only when there is high degree of competition between the private companies and there is an informed consumers making rational choices to provide feedback.

This is the biggest myth about health care: That people make "rational, informed" choices. They don't. You don't have an appendix attack and shop around to a few hospitals to see who has the best rate: They put you in the ambulance and you go to the closest place with a resource available to save your life. As for a "free market" in health care, that's an interesting academic discussion, but certainly isn't something that will ever exist in the real world.

There is a massive barrier to entry in providing services: You can't just up and become a doctor. There's licensing, education, and liability insurance premiums. In a "free market" new providers would rush to provide the service that has become so rare that the price spiked. But that's an 8-12 years pipeline to add new doctors, and a 2-6 year pipeline for new RNs, MSNs. And all of that adds up to this: It isn't really a free market, and there probably isn't much hope of it ever becoming one because sick patients will always be mostly frightened and want the first option that saves their lives. Our society will never allow any random to person to just say "I'm a doctor!" and provide medical care. So we're stuck: We can't grow the supply of doctors and high-skill nurses fast enough to provide care for all the sick people, and we can't get sick people to say "fuck you! I'd rather die than pay that much!" (yet) so that's where it stands.

It ain't a "free market," and it can't become a "Free market" in the foreseeable future. Get back to me if mankind can evolve out of mortal fear for his own existence to the point where he can "shop around" for the cheapest E.R. after he breaks a leg, gets hit by a car, or has an appendix attack.

Sooo, how is that an argument for MORE government intervention?

"Health care isn't a free market. Therefore we must put the same bureaucrats that run the TSA in charge."

Yep, quite the logical leap there....

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515801)

This is the biggest myth about health care: That people make "rational, informed" choices. They don't. You don't have an appendix attack and shop around to a few hospitals to see who has the best rate: They put you in the ambulance and you go to the closest place with a resource available to save your life.

And second, for people whose insurance is tied to their employer via a group plan: that people make "rational, informed" choices about their insurance. I've never been able to choose my insurance -- the people in the HR department are the ones making the choices, and the only plans offered to the HR department (by the insurance brokers) tend to be the low-deductible, high-monthly-cost plans suitable for group insurance: precisely the opposite of the catastrophic insurance that I, myself, would prefer to purchase.

The current US insurance system is so far divorced from anything resembling a free market that single-payer would be an improvement. If you have no choice in your insurance provider (your employer chooses one for you), and no choice in your health care provider (your medical needs determine the closest one), single payer has an enormous advantage in that it eliminate the middlemen. No HR departments, no insurance brokers, no insurance companies, all duplicating each other's paperwork, and not a single person in that entire ecosystem has ever, or will ever, provide care to a single patient.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515631)

This assumes that companies don't have a choice of insurance providers, which is nonsense; they do, and they change them all the time. The options available to an individual are limited, yes. It's an extraordinarily distorted market, yes. But it is a market.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514999)

I maintain my own insurance and everyone else should do the same.

Really? You are buying private health insurance as an individual? Either you are crazy or you are swimming in money or you are being swindled.

My W2 shows how much my company has been paying for my health care. Works out to 10K a year for a family. My brother is an independent contractor. He cant buy anything for less than 20K for equivalent coverage. By joining some network of independents he is buying it for some 14K.

It is very much possible to buy the same coverage for as little as 8K. But the moment you file a claim, they jack up your rates, and if you have chronic conditions they bump you off and do not renew. All the premia you have paid all these years thinking you have coverage? Sit down, it might come as a shock to you. The private health care companies that you are so vociferously defending anonymously, will dump you in a second.

But I could be wrong. You could be one of the shills hired by the private health care companies to get on early on the threads and defend health care companies. You might simply be doing your job.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (2)

darkstar949 (697933) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515041)

Such things are always handled much more efficiently by the private market. If we had single payer, every Tom, Dick, and Harry would be going to the doctor every time they got a sniffle and the bill would be Trillions. If you are successful and smart you will go to the doctor only when you need to, and you will be able to pay with cash you have earned previously. I maintain my own insurance and everyone else should do the same.

Is this opposed to the current system where everyone without insurance goes to the ER when they have a sniffle instead? Remember that ERs cannot deny service in the United States due to lack of insurance so tax dollars are paying for them now as it is. If people went to their primary care physician instead meaning better service at the ER when people really need the ER.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515279)

So everybody over in the UK and other countries in Europe are paying enormous sums because every Tom, Dick and Harry is going the the doctor every time they get a sniffle? So that's why their single-payer health care system runs a little more than half of that in the US as a percent of GDP? Shill.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Insightful)

squizzar (1031726) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515383)

Or you could be informed... and look at reality. Highest cost as percentage of GDP in the world, coverage of 2/3rd the population? Yay US! I've got private healthcare (it's often a job perk in the UK), but I also know that if I lost my job tomorrow, had some chronic illness or something that wasn't covered I'd still be fine. I get taxed for it, but I still feel more 'free' than I would were it necessary to be employed or maintain a private health insurance policy for coverage. Also we get much more holiday over here, no worries about random gun violence - our police are generally unarmed because they generally don't need to be armed, and you get all the rain you can complain about.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515549)

Such things are always handled much more efficiently by the private market. If we had single payer, every Tom, Dick, and Harry would be going to the doctor every time they got a sniffle and the bill would be Trillions.

Houston, we have a problem. The proponents of "privately funded" healthcare now make arguments so absurd and divorced from reality that I have trouble telling them from sarcasm. AC: please clarify.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

equex (747231) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515719)

Oh fuck off, troll, the private market is not mature enough to handle real issues like health and education. Let the free market control the local burger joint that's fine, but not real stuff.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515851)

I come from a country that doesn't have privatized health care and you know what. It's awesome, and cost isn't that much more. Do you know why? Because people who go to the doctor for piddly things don't let it become big things. You don't wait until it's so bad that you require emergency medical attention or have to have big risk surgeries. Cancers caught earlier can be fought off more readily and even cheaper in some cases.

The problem where I am(because there always is one): you have a minor issue like you need shoulder surgery or knee surgery, something non life threatening. You get put on a list and you wait until a spot opens up. People who are more severe can be pushed ahead of you(as they should). It's not a system of I came first, I'm more important, I have more money. You don't get to be a dick about it, everyone is treated like a human and unfortunately that might mean you have to wait for minor things.

There are no death panels everyone has access.

Where I am this doesn't cover everything so employer benefits will be good for things like eye doctors, paying for prescriptions not administered at the hospital(if your in the hospital for say a heart transplant or lung transplant they will foot the bill). Like I said per capita I think we typically make out spending the same as the U.S. on health care and are considered to have a better one, with more access for people and healthier people.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1, Troll)

j-beda (85386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514847)

BTW if we have a single payer health insurance system, this would not even be an issue.

But that would be communism!

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515129)

If he doesn't have health insurance and got his legs blown off, then that's his fucking problem isn't it? Just because a bunch of people got hurt in a "terrorist" attack doesn't mean we need to become communist socialists.

I've got mine, FUCK YOU!

--
BMO

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515649)

Just to note, Bauman (the guy we're talking about, lost legs, IDed bomber) DOES have health insurance [thinkprogress.org]

Not only does Bauman have employer-sponsored health coverage through Costco — the company “is also matching donations made by colleagues at the chain’s Nashua location,” according to a more recent Globe article from Friday. Bauman is being forced to raise funds despite this assistance due to the extraordinarily high costs associated with the amount of current and ongoing care that he requires.

Personally, I think this is a perfect example of why having health insurance run by for-profit organizations is a terrible idea and why the taxpayers paying for health insurance would be better. Anyway, the victims are being taken care of better than most citizens will be, as of friday, three had sites where people could donate to their health costs, and they were all above $400k. In at least Bauman's case, his employer is matching, so that's more like $800k.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514891)

If Dzhokhar is deemed an enemy combatant, all the victims would lose their health insurance coverage. Most insurance does not cover Acts of War. When Bush declared 9/11 attacks as an act of war in his original speech, insurance companies invoked the exception and refused to pay WTC building insurance. Then they claimed both plane crashes actually constitute a "single instance" and reduced the claims by half. So don't put anything past our vaunted private health insurance companies.

Health insurance will not work in a free market. Insurance works only when the claimants and the insurer does not know who will file a claim and whose policies will expire without any claims. You don't know when/if your house will burn down or your car will be totaled. Nor do insurance companies. This model will work in free market.

In health care, diabetics, heart disease patients, cancer surviors, transplant recipients know how much they are going claim for sure. So does the insurer. Free market will force companies to refuse to insure them. People without chronic condition will refuse to buy policies.

For health care, single payer is the only system that will work. The savings from paperwork and preventive treatment will be enough to pay for the people currently without insurance and to contain the growth of health care costs.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515137)

Health insurance will not work in a free market. Insurance works only when the claimants and the insurer does not know who will file a claim and whose policies will expire without any claims. You don't know when/if your house will burn down or your car will be totaled. Nor do insurance companies. This model will work in free market.

They may not know when your house will burn down, but by using statistics, they know the risk of homes like yours burning down.

I think you severely underestimate the usefulness and effectiveness of the actuarial sciences [wikipedia.org] .
The insurance companies are so sure of their statistics, that they only thing they buy secondary insurance for is natural disasters.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515379)

Sir, I do understand the powers of actuarial sciences. In fact I know its history without going to wiki. What the insurance companies know is statistically how many houses are expected to burn down in their insured risk pool. But they do not know which specific ones. Nor do the home owners. So all home owners voluntarily buy insurance, and are relieved their houses are standing the end of the coverage period, see the peace of mind worth the cost and buy the insurance again. But if you know for sure you house is going to burn down, the insurance companies will refuse to cover you. In fact if there is substantial chance it will burn down, they will refuse to cover you or write riders excluding it. Look at the number of insurance companies operating within 10 miles of Atlantic coast in Florid or how many sand bar islands are "no coverage area" in the Carolinas.

Insurance works, only when it is operating on large sample sizes and liklihood estimates and expected values and statistics. If it is specific and individualized, they stop working. A diabetic knows exactly how much his insulin is going to cost. And will buy insurance only if the premium is less than the expected claims. The insurance company will not insure him for less than the cost of claims known `a priori. This is a deadlock.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515735)

If Dzhokhar is deemed an enemy combatant, all the victims would lose their health insurance coverage.

But regardless of whether he is declared an enemy combatant, he will receive any medical care he may need. God bless America, where we help the criminals/terrorists, but the victims can go screw themselves.

The same thing happened after 9/11. Many of the people who helped at the site, like construction workers who volunteered literally before the dust settled, and who were rightly hailed as heroes, got screwed on medical care. It was a national shame and little reported.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514935)

"It's that fucking nigger muslim who blew my legs off, it must have been."

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515017)

Is there really something valiant and courageous about ID'ing the person who just turned you into an amputee?

I'm not belittling the man, I feel awful for him as that's one of the most horrendous life changing things I can imagine happening, but I'm not entirely sure what heroic act this man has performed, he's done what anyone in his situation would do - the maximum he can to exact revenge.

Perhaps this is a cultural thing, but the bravado being shown regarding people who did what anyone would expect them to do between this and the poor MIT officer who got shot dead without being given chance to defend himself strikes me as a little odd.

I would argue, the heroes, if any, are those who rushed to the aid of the injured without knowing if they themselves could become victims of another bomb or attack as they did so, not the poor sods who died or are led in hospital beds - they're unfortunate victims. Is no one allowed to be a victim in America? Must every victim be made a hero whilst the real heroes go unnamed and unknown?

Certainly I imagine that if this is what heroism is, the guy led missing his legs would rather be one of the unknown and unnamed.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515703)

Is there really something valiant and courageous about ID'ing the person who just turned you into an amputee?

I'm not belittling the man, I feel awful for him as that's one of the most horrendous life changing things I can imagine happening, but I'm not entirely sure what heroic act this man has performed, he's done what anyone in his situation would do - the maximum he can to exact revenge.

...

Nope.

He needs to show up at the guy's trial with a supercharged tazer and fire it at the guy's crotch, frying the guy's genitals off.

For all the world to see.

Guess how many fundamental Muslim whackos would be willing to be martyrs for the cause of Islam if that happened to them? Having no pecker suddently turns eternal access to 72 virgins from paradise into the ultimate hell.

Re:Wasn't It As Much Individual Photog & ID? (1)

jellie (949898) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515051)

Wasn't it a combination of all of the above? The FBI collected video recordings and photos from all available sources, and identified two suspects. The FBI had one of the suspects putting the backpack on the ground right before one of the explosions, and also saw the two of them walk away from the scene afterward. That information was enough to pick those two and, for example, rule out the people identified by the NY Post and Reddit. But the images weren't clear enough, so they asked for the public's help for clearer images and for the suspect's names.

better idea (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514725)

I'd replace it with a Twitter and Facebook page. 100 million humans have been known to beat a computer at facial recognition, especially when clothes and circumstances are added in.

Re:better idea (2)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515021)

Yeah, right. Just ask this guy about it [nydailynews.com] .

Re:better idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515769)

"Teenager Salah Barhoum’s face was plastered on the front page of the New York Post Thursday, labeling him and a friend [of] “Bag Men”"
The newspaper said find him and they found him. So it double succeeded, just the paper was wrong about him being involved.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515059)

You're correct. The FBI delayed the release of their photos by 24 hours. Things might have gone differently if the FBI hadn't waited so long. I'm sure some bureaucrat told them to double check that the two guys were the bombers, and the FBI cancelled their press conference and waited 24 hours.

sqrt(-1) grammar nazi (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514731)

Pinpointing the suspect's what?

Oh wait, that's grammatically correct. It's a sad day when I start imagining /. grammar mistakes that aren't actually there.

CCTV (1)

symes (835608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514741)

The surveillance footage probably helped identify the bombers. But they were initially apprehended by an MIT campus security officer and while he may well have known who to look for it was his training and bravery that made the most significant impact in this case. So questions about the value of CCTV and other tech to one side, we mustn't forget there is a very important human element in amongst all. I kind of feel it is imporatnt to not lose sight of this.

Re:CCTV (2, Informative)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514833)

The MIT policeman was apparently shot in the head while sitting in his car, not apprehending the suspects.

If humans can't get it right.. (1)

kakris (126307) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514757)

How can we expect computers to make a proper match when people can't even accomplish the task? The internet was quick to point the finger to Sunil Tripathi, and all they ended up doing was cause unnecessary pain for the family of a missing person.

Re:If humans can't get it right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515751)

Exactly. I work with a security camera system that we have been told by Police is far and away the best picture quality they get from anyone in the city, and our system is still grainy, blurry, and hard to make out details from still frames. Actual video is better, but pretty much entirely from brain processing rather than video processing.

The biggest problem is that most places still use 10-20 year old cameras, and when they upgrade their systems are too old to handle HD digitial systems. So the company in charger of paying for their security stuff typically won't pay for the huge upgrades required and instead settle for more analog SD cameras, occasionally second-hand, in order to save costs.

Wonder who it *did* recognize (3, Interesting)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514783)

Gotta wonder if it picked up matches for random people who are wanted for one thing or another, and if there will be follow-up investigations on those leads.

And if so, if crowd-scanning will become a precedent...

Re:Wonder who it *did* recognize (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515467)

Authorities have always wanted magically accurate identification. And yes, they want to use it everywhere. They don't appreciate the difficulties inherent in applying a system that can match people in high quality images against a database of a few hundred high quality images, to poor pictures against a database of over a million tiny, poor quality mug shots. Even if they upgrade all the photos, a system with a fantastically good 0.01% false positive rate will still find about 100 matches for every person.

Some would force everyone to have serial numbers tattooed to foreheads if they could. They are suckers for this kind of technology, all too ready to sell themselves on what they very badly want.

WTF? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514785)

"Boston Police Chief: Facial Recognition Tech Didn't Help Find Bombing Suspects"

Thousands of paramilitary, guns, Humvees, helicopters, robots, hours and hours of lockdown of millions of people and the suspect went uncaught.

A homeowner on a smoke break finds him.

Who the fuck cares about facial recognition, I say arm the citizens and save money and time.

Re:WTF? (2)

Servaas (1050156) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514853)

It works in Syria!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514893)

Citation required

Re:WTF? (4, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515345)

Who the fuck cares about facial recognition, I say arm the citizens and save money and time.

Go to Somalia and find out how good that works out.

Re:WTF? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515397)

Same to you, citation required.

You do not have an armed populace in Somalia, you have a piss poor shithole state lousy with Islamic insurgents who have guns and terrorize the people who do not have guns.

Give all the proles guns and let them go to town is what I say.

Why don't you people think about these things *before* you post your douchebaggery?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515471)

Of course, then you just have to worry about being a false positive. Yes, let's bring back lynch mobs!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515523)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_comitatus_%28common_law%29

Go fuck yourself douchebag. Law abiding citizens have a right and a duty to protect themselves and their society. Societies that do not recognize that right is part of the problem.

Re:WTF? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515791)

A gun is the difference between a citizen and a subject. I categorically reject any attempt to turn the former into the latter.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515415)

"Boston Police Chief: Facial Recognition Tech Didn't Help Find Bombing Suspects"

Thousands of paramilitary, guns, Humvees, helicopters, robots, hours and hours of lockdown of millions of people and the suspect went uncaught.

A homeowner on a smoke break finds him.

Who the fuck cares about facial recognition, I say arm the citizens and save money and time.

Nothing less than an RPG over every fireplace will do...

Well done slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514817)

Site's certificate is expired.

What fucking use is a tech site that can't even update their certificates?

Re:Well done slashdot. (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515239)

At least they don't host [techweekeurope.co.uk] your company data.

So we just accept the 'can't be done' route... (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | about a year and a half ago | (#43514849)

Not really a fan of this technology - but my thought is this would be a good place to work on fine-tuning the system to increase the effectiveness. You have several RL image sources/raw footage and know what the result should be... time to work on debugging.

Off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43514897)

Is anyone else getting a warning about an expired ssl cert from this site? Or am I the target of a MITM attack?

Re:Off topic (1)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515437)

Citizen! Do not question the integrity of the site! Mandatory government monitoring of your traffic is for your own protection!

Or maybe a bunch of nerds are too lazy to update their certs.

Face recognition technology isn't very good (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515087)

Current-generation face-recognition systems have a false positive rate of about 1 in 1,000 even when they have excellent images to work with -- high-resolution, well-lit, full-face frontal photos with no obscuring hats, glasses, etc. So even if CCTVs captured excellent images, if you're searching a database of tens of millions you're going to get a lot of matches. In a case like the Boston bombing it's okay if you get a few thousand hits because there is manpower available to sort through and narrow those down to the dozens which the (much more accurate) human eye/brain can't distinguish, and then there's manpower available to chase down each of those leads.

When you reduce the image quality, though, make it grainy, at an angle, poorly lit, and throw in some baseball caps... forget it. You have to reduce the match threshold, and then instead of thousands of candidate matches, you have tens or hundreds of thousands. For that matter, consider the fact that humans can't deal well with those constraints, and we're social animals who devote a significant portion of our enormous brain capacity to exactly this task.

Re:Face recognition technology isn't very good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43515583)

should have used facebooks recognition software.

its the advertisers who are driving innovation these days

i dont know whether to laugh or cry.

The technology will improve. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515095)

All I have used is picasa. And I have been impressed by its ability. It might have fizzled out in this instance, but this technology has real potential.

I have loaded some 45000 pictures, almost all family pics, on to Picasa. Once I identify a face and tag it, it finds the same face in other photos. And as I mark yes/no for its findings, it improves remarkably. It is not confused by heavy make up worn by Bharatnatyam dancers. [google.com] It is finding the correct faces of 20 such dancers lined up facing the camera. It picks faces obscured in dark backgrounds, in out of focus pictures, faces occupying hardly 50 x 50 pixels. Faces at all orientations, including upside down. Half faces, faces with just one eye... It is really amazing.

What is amazing is its mistakes. It mistakes mother for daughter and vice versa. Confuses brothers with sisters when they are toddlers but not when they are teens or adults.

But this is forward match, going from a known face and looking for it in a crowd. Boston police is trying the reverse look up on a massive scale. It failed today. But like Lycos and webcrawler being upstaged when Google solved the reverse look up problem, some day the reverse look up problem will be solved. With parallel technology? Through GPU's running million forward searches simultaneously? But someday soon, the reverse look up will be solved and the automatic photo identification will work.

Re:The technology will improve. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515183)

it's probably more of a problem of there being too many hits, the grainy image doesn't have that much data and if you have to compare it to couple of million potential candidates.. finding it from a set of few hundred like you would with fb/picasa/whatever image tag is easy though. not because there's not enough processing power mind you, but because it's going to be hitting too many potential matches.

I disagree (1)

Drewdad (1738014) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515119)

Facial recognition tech did help. It's a mature technology that's been in use for 100,000 years or more....

Refund? (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515177)

So if the system doesn't actually catch bad guys, why do they still have it? Did they not save their sales receipt from spending all those tax dollars?

Re:Refund? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515273)

The idea is to have high res cameras to be able to catch everyone, everywhere, guilty of something or not. Will be like checking up in foursquare every place you go. Or at least that is the idea they have. False positives will make life very interesting in the US.

Re:Refund? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515423)

there is an ongoing effort to intimidate the populace into mental submission to government and its police. This is a necessary step in the transition to a police state. Just as one of many examples, four decades ago, the phrase "lock down" was used for one place, a prison during riot or violence incident. Now it is used for schools and major cities.

Don't get arrogant (3, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43515267)

What people don't understand is that for facial recognition software to work you have to have good quality cameras, images, a more static environment. This is why you hear about it being used in casinos is Las Vegas and elsewhere. In those environments you have high quality cameras with close range and good angles working against a smaller set of good pictures in a relatively static environment (people in casinos tend to congregate and not move around a lot). You also have staff with a distinct vested interest in watching out for their 'bad guys'.

In a place like a large public venue you have lower quality cameras, far more people running around, worse angles and range and the environment is far more transient. The tool is being used in a completely different environment with far less support and far larger data sets to work with.

It's like taking your Rav4 off-roading the Rubicon trail and coming way with the conclusion that off-roading is a bunch of hype. You've taken the tool (grocery getter) and put it to use for a job it was never meant for. Meanwhile your guy with the old Jeep knows for a fact that his tools works for the job because he uses it for that job on a routine basis, however he would be just as foolish to except his jeep to work as well as a daily grocery getter as a Rav4.

Until the tools are put into environments that allow them to succeed, and with the hardware that they need they will continue to fail. You could call it a failing of the tool, however the tools and hardware are immature. Give it another five years and this would be a very different story. It's just technology advancing and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it short of getting hold of your politician and demanding reforms or limits on it's use.

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