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Chicago Robber Caught By Facial Recognition Sentenced To 22 Years

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the we're-always-watching dept.

Crime 143

mpicpp (3454017) writes with this excerpt from Ars: "The first man to be arrested in Chicago based on facial recognition analysis was sentenced last week to 22 years in prison for armed robbery. ... In February 2013, Pierre Martin robbed a man at gunpoint while on a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train. After taking the man's phone, Martin jumped off the train. However, his image was captured by CTA surveillance cameras and was then compared to the Chicago Police Department's database of 4.5 million criminal booking images. Martin, who already had priors, had a mugshot in the database. He was later positively identified by witnesses. At trial, Martin also admitted to committing a similar robbery also on the Pink Line in January 2013—his face was captured during both robberies."

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My two cents (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198683)

Imagine this scenario: I don't know if this person did it, but if the facial recognition software says it's true, it must be him. "Yes, officer, that's the guy."

Re:My two cents (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47198737)

"This is the guy our fingerprint comparison said did it, does he look like the guy?"

Re:My two cents (2)

taustin (171655) | about 2 months ago | (#47199463)

That isn't how lineups are done in real life. Real police work bears no resemblance whatsoever to the routine felonies committed by character of cop shows.

Re:My two cents (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47199517)

Agreed. Which is why the grandparent seems off base with that comment. The police are not going to be feeding hints to a witness during a line up.

It's all irrelevant to this particular case anyway, and I think people are instantly imaginging worst case scenarios for facial recognition rather than reading the story.

Re:My two cents (1, Troll)

guevera (2796207) | about 2 months ago | (#47200337)

The police are not going to be feeding hints to a witness during a line up.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Oh wait, were you serious?

At this point, why would anyone give any cop the benefit of the doubt about anything?

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200505)

You need to cut down on the paranoia. While some cops would love to feed hints to witnesses during line-ups, they usually don't. Because if the defense finds out about it (and biased line-ups are the kind of dirt they love to look for), the prosecution will be screwed. And when the DA gets angry, he's going take things out on whichever cop botched the investigation.

Re:My two cents (1, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47198741)

Any remotely competent lawyer would get that kind of identification thrown out of court. Any lineup, even a photo lineup, without multiple options is inadmissible in court.

Re:My two cents (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47198803)

Any remotely competent lawyer would get that kind of identification thrown out of court. Any lineup, even a photo lineup, without multiple options is inadmissible in court.

Sounds to me like this was used as an investigative lead that helped them find other evidence, rather than as the principal evidence presented in court. This really isn't different than a police officer viewing the recording to see the offender's face, then going through books of mugshots to find the face, then investigating those people that the officer thinks might be the offender. This is simply the computer taking the image that the police officer identified and searching those "books" for close matches, then the police looking at the MO of the crime as compared to the MO of the person previously arrested, and investigating ones that have the most commonality first.

In this case they identified a suspect, the suspect apparently had offended in this same way before, and the suspect was tried and convicted. This doesn't seem to violate any new privacy considerations- the recordings being collected themselves are nothing new, and the mugshot database isn't either. Simply making the comparison itself doesn't add any new fuel to the fire of personal liberty complaints or of violation of privacy.

Re:My two cents (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47198957)

Imagine this scenario: I don't know if this person did it, but if the facial recognition software says it's true, it must be him. "Yes, officer, that's the guy."

I was responding to the OP who was implying that the officer would only show the witness one photo and stating that the facial recognition picked him.

Re:My two cents (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47199959)

I very much doubt that the victim was even told that computer-driven facial recognition software played a role, and if the victim was told that, then I doubt that an individual suspect was identified by police without being part of a greater lineup.

Besides, based on the TV "police procedurals" that have been on for the last fifteen years, I expect that a statistically significant portion of the population already believe that this sort of facial recognition was already going on. Given that I remember actually seeing a demo of some real face recognition stuff in the late nineties I'm not even immune to that assumption. This is one place where those that have ended up on the list (ie, convicted felons) do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and mining that particular database for comparison is not an unreasonable intrusion, especially if the database is comprised of convicts. They didn't mine the drivers' license database, or the food handlers' database, or trades registration database, etc. They mined one that they have a legitimate case to go through.

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200347)

It's an extremely slippery slope and peoples rights are suppose to be restored after they've served their time. It's sad that people are so willing to give into this sort of thing simply because the police demand it and based on what they see on TV.

Re:My two cents (1)

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) | about 2 months ago | (#47200565)

This really isn't different than a police officer viewing the recording to see the offender's face, then going through books of mugshots to find the face, then investigating those people that the officer thinks might be the offender. This is simply the computer taking the image that the police officer identified and searching those "books" for close matches, then the police looking at the MO of the crime as compared to the MO of the person previously arrested, and investigating ones that have the most commonality first.

Well, since a lot of manual bars were and are lowered when we go from manual matching to computerized search you have to be a bit more careful with that argument. (It's close to being an antique if nothing else).

It's akin to the difference between going out fishing with a pole or two, to scouring the ocean with a fleet of trawlers. In essence it's the same activity, but the effects can be vastly different.

It's for example not at all improbable that the quality of match will decrease significantly when computers are involved for the single simple fact that a search doesn't "cost" nearly as much as with the manual system, and therefore it will be used much less judiciously. It goes from "Won't do that until there's a clear chance it will succeed", to "Well, it doesn't hurt to try." If people (e.g. courts) are still used to the evidentiary value of the old process, which wasn't typically used unless police thought it worthwhile, then the risk of falsely accusing someone just went up. (Perhaps even significantly). And that's just one risk off the top of my head.

So it's often not that computers allow a significantly different behaviour in theory (in fact we're crap at coming up with fundamentally new and exciting ways of using computers), we're masters at automating the old "manual" ways of doing things. It's that automating something tends to lead to difference use cases in practice, as it enables usage that would previously have been prohibitively expensive, and that we're usually crap at predicting what those effects would be.

(Compare mass surveillance. Hitler and East Germany did it, but they were about the only ones as the cost were staggering when all you had were manual methods of collection and analysis of the collecte data (the latter typically dominated cost). It was cost prohibitive for everybody but the most hard core of tyrants. Today the methods are so cheap that it happens almost by "accident" when it comes to the private sector, and even well run democracies fall into the "mass surveillance" trap, since it's it's so cheap and keeping it secret is much easier due to lower number of people who have to be involved. And the latter is one of those secondary effects that we're crap at foreseeing. It used to be that you couldn't keep that level of surveillance secret, there were just too many people involved. Everybody had to know they were oppressed, which meant that some organisations wouldn't dream of using it, lest they be tarred with that brush. Today it's relatively much easier and that's much of the outrage (what little there is, unfortunately), that people have come to the realisation that the US can, in a sence, be East Germany, without having to look like it. (Well, that likeness is of course not to be taken too far, obviously there are clear differences, but you get my drift.)

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198805)

Competent lawyer? In Chicago? How's that deep dish pizza in fantasyland? Chicago lawyers advice will be "prosecuter says you guilty, now I say you agree to do what you told."

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198745)

I don't RTFA on principle, but "positively identified by witnesses" usually implies a lineup, right?

Re:My two cents (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 months ago | (#47198947)

They don't do that way, that is leading the witness. They include the person they've identified along with other people in a mug shot lineup and ask the witness to pick the person they saw. If the witness picks the same person that the police have already identified, then that is 2 pieces of evidence that they know who did it.

tuttle or buttle? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 months ago | (#47198977)

Imagine this scenario: I don't know if this person did it, but if the facial recognition software says it's true, it must be him. "Yes, officer, that's the guy."

your question reminds me of the movie Brazil. How can someone have done something is the computer says they are dead?

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200477)

Summary, read it.

He was later positively identified by witnesses.

Watch_Dogs (4, Funny)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 2 months ago | (#47198689)

Shoulda just hacked the Chicago camera system with his phone.

Re:Watch_Dogs (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 months ago | (#47198885)

22 years ago, his phone would have been mounted to the wall in his house.

Re:Watch_Dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198969)

22 years ago, he was 21 years away from committing this crime. That's the sentence, not how long ago this occurred.

Re:Watch_Dogs (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47199047)

That Chicago is not our Chicago why is the loop an inland? and where is the roads so messed up?

Re:Watch_Dogs (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 2 months ago | (#47199591)

Or, perhaps, hacked it and fed another picture of a stereotypical criminal into the database. That'll beat both the system and any witnesses.

Fingerprints (4, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | about 2 months ago | (#47198693)

This is nothing more than the type of fingerprint matching that's been going on for many decades. It just puts a name to a person after the fact. Now on the other hand, if he was actively recognized via facial recognition as he was out and about in public and then apprehended, well that would be a different story.

Re:Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198771)

This is nothing more than the type of fingerprint matching that's been going on for many decades. It just puts a name to a person after the fact. Now on the other hand, if he was actively recognized via facial recognition as he was out and about in public and then apprehended, well that would be a different story.

Who's to say this didn't happen? They match him up with CCTV images from elsewhere. Then, they pretend to recognise him from the train video.

Easy ex post facto deception and the ACLU doesn't get involved, because they don't know about it.

Re:Fingerprints (1, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47198841)

Yet another baseless conspiracy theory from the tinfoil brigade.

Re:Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198921)

Yet another baseless conspiracy theory from the tinfoil brigade.

Yet another shortsighted truism from the complacent masses.

Re: Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199033)

Years ago I remember people saying this about mass spying by the government...that one came true.

Re: Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200559)

The thing is that governments have always had a vested interest in mass-spying, and since analyzing large amounts of text is relatively easy, for the past ten to fifteen years, they've had the capacity to do it.

Police forces may have an interest in mass scans of CCTV footage, but analyzing video is much more computationally expensive than analyzing text. If you really think that the Chicago Police Dept has the money (or the competence) to create a system to cross-reference literally millions of hours of CCTV footage against a database of tens of thousands of criminals on the off-chance that a match will turn up, you are an idiot. Even if they did find a match, what would they do with it? Accuse an ex-con of walking by a Starbucks?

A more realistic scenario is that they subpoena'd the CCTV tapes of the day of the crime from a store that was just outside one of the subway entrances. But that's perfectly legal. (So why would they lie about it?)

Re:Fingerprints (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 2 months ago | (#47201003)

Yet another baseless conspiracy theory from the tinfoil brigade.

Umm, actual reality backs this up pretty well. Look up "parallel construction".

Re:Fingerprints (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47201045)

I doubt they would go through that just to catch a petty thief. By the way I see nothing wrong with concealing sources if the evidence presented in court is legally obtained.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47198843)

Who's to say this didn't happen? They match him up with CCTV images from elsewhere. Then, they pretend to recognise him from the train video.

The OP's concern was that they would be matching the face of the criminal from the train footage against faces of innocent people out in public, rather than against mug shots from when criminals were booked. I.e. They'd be doing a dragnet over every face in public, rather than against a collection of faces of known criminals. How does what you're talking about relate to that in any way? I can't imagine a scenario where they'd get any sort of benefit out of doing what you're talking about.

Re:Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198937)

The OP's concern was that they would be matching the face of the criminal from the train footage against faces of innocent people out in public, rather than against mug shots from when criminals were booked. I.e. They'd be doing a dragnet over every face in public, rather than against a collection of faces of known criminals. How does what you're talking about relate to that in any way? I can't imagine a scenario where they'd get any sort of benefit out of doing what you're talking about.

They already have a massive database of faces courtesy of the NSA, which they both know about and have easy access to.

How does it relate to this in "any" way? It relates to this in "every" way.

Re:Fingerprints (3, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47199241)

Spell it out for me then, because I'm clearly not getting it.

Near as I can tell, they need to be able to demonstrate in court that they have a way of linking the guy in the train footage to the person they've apprehended. There may be a few links in the chain tying the person to the crime. If the police claim it's via facial recognition from the train footage, they'll need to be able to demonstrate that they can make that identification from the train footage. If CCTV footage gets involved, we've added an extra link to the chain, so they'll need to demonstrate that they can tie the person from the train footage to the CCTV footage (e.g. the person is seen heading in the same direction wearing the same clothes at the same time and location) and then can tie the CCTV footage to the mugshot, otherwise it'll do them no good. And if they're doing that, I don't see why anyone should have any issues with it, since it's no different than going to neighboring stores after a robbery to see if any of them have cameras that got a better view of the suspect's face. That's old-fashioned detective work, not something to fear.

On the other hand, if all they're doing is matching CCTV footage against mugshots, without linking it back to the train footage, then they've failed to tie anyone to anything at all. All they can get from that is "previously arrested person X is currently at location Y", which wouldn't do them much good in court, and it wouldn't be useful to them in the least in getting a conviction since they wouldn't be able to demonstrate the link back to the suspect from the train footage.

And that's before we even begin to address your claims about the NSA stuff, which I find highly unlikely, even with the revelations we've had (everyone knows it's the FBI that keeps the database on US citizens, not the NSA :P).

Re:Fingerprints (1)

Calavar (1587721) | about 2 months ago | (#47200563)

They already have a massive database of faces courtesy of Facebook, which they both know about and have easy access to.

FTFY. The NSA doesn't need to steal your info when you've already given it away willingly.

Re:Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200745)

They already have a massive database of faces courtesy of Facebook, which they both know about and have easy access to.

FTFY. The NSA doesn't need to steal your info when you've already given it away willingly.

Speak for yourself. Not all of us are on Facebook, you know.

The people who are on Facebook are, indeed, a threat to my everyone's privacy and, frankly, should be ashamed.

Re:Fingerprints (0)

taustin (171655) | about 2 months ago | (#47199493)

If they're willing to commit those very serious felonies, then the addition of facial recognition software makes no difference whatsoever. Without it (or, rather, before it), they'd just falsify other evidence instead.

If you believe that all cops are like the ones you see on TV, you should - seriously - move to some place where the nearest other human being is at least 500 miles away. This would be to your benefit, and to everyone else's, as well.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 2 months ago | (#47200047)

Processing power would be the main restriction. Running facial recognition on CCTV over a large number of cameras in real time is impractical. Now if you know where he's likely to be or are running it after the fact it's a different story.

Re:Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200555)

It took Google Street View less than an hour to run their new neural-net based number identifier on all street addresses in France.

An hour. All of France. Faces are just a few years out.

Re:Fingerprints (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47198785)

I agree, but I think there's another concern here as well: false positives are significantly more dangerous than with other fingerprinting techniques. If DNA samples or fingerprints provide false positives, we have (admittedly error-prone) eyewitnesses as a final layer of defense, and since people who look entirely different can have similar fingerprints or DNA signatures, it's likely that the people look nothing alike. Not so with facial recognition, since a false positive is likely to be close enough to a true positive that it will be incorrectly affirmed by eyewitnesses, even if the authorities don't bias them by telling them that the guy was a match.

None of which is to say that I think we should stop using it, since it is a valuable tool. I merely think that it needs to be used with an understanding of its faults and taken with the grain of salt it deserves.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47199147)

since a false positive is likely to be close enough to a true positive that it will be incorrectly affirmed by eyewitnesses, even if the authorities don't bias them by telling them that the guy was a match.

That's exactly what I thought when I read in TFA that "he ranked No. 1 among possible matches."

It's a matter of when, not if, the #1 match is innocent, but was in the same place at the same time as the actual perpetrator.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47200123)

It's a matter of when, not if, the #1 match is innocent, but was in the same place at the same time as the actual perpetrator.

So take away facial recognition and what changes?

Basic old-school law enforcement:
step 1: get a description of the perp from witnesses
step 2: get a list of suspects -- find out who was there
step 3: show the witnesses the suspects and see if they recognize the guy

If you were at the scene of the crime, and looked like the perp, odds are decent you are going to get busted. After all, they'll find some evidence you were there (because, well, you were), your trainpass will show you boarding, your cell phone will locate you to the scene, etc, etc. Then some eyewitness to the crime will pick your picture out of a gallery because, yes, you really do look enough like the perp, then what?

Its a matter of when, not if, someone who looks like the perp and was in the same place as the perp gets convicted.

Facial recognition isn't necessarily even going to make it worse.

Countless people have been arrested and some even convicted simply for being 'black' near where people crime was commited where the perp was witnessed to be 'black'.

Hell, facial recognition and video surveillance might actually be an improvement here.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

taustin (171655) | about 2 months ago | (#47199507)

Generally speaking, there is an attempt made (as there should be) for all the guys in a lineup to look similar, which means your argument is again all lineups, despite that being proven the best way to do such things.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 2 months ago | (#47199605)

Why do you think DNA samples or fingerprints are more likely to have false positives than (you admitted) very poor human memory?

I'm not claiming the tech is always better, but at least with DNA samples, and I am under the impression with fingerprints (please disprove my belief), they at least have reasonable stats at how likely it is to have false positives... as opposed to "a 6 foot tall guy with blond hair".

Re:Fingerprints (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 2 months ago | (#47200467)

I think his point is that fingerprint and DNA false positives dont lead to a suspect that looks like what a witness saw. Whereas facial regonition false positives almost guarantee that the person will at least look similar to what the witness saw. Thus for facial recognition, the witness-as-a-confirmation is not as compelling. It's almost the same piece of evidence, rather than two corroborating pieces.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) | about 2 months ago | (#47200513)

I think his point is that fingerprint and DNA false positives dont lead to a suspect that looks like what a witness saw. Whereas facial regonition false positives almost guarantee that the person will at least look similar to what the witness saw. Thus for facial recognition, the witness-as-a-confirmation is not as compelling. It's almost the same piece of evidence, rather than two corroborating pieces.

That's a very good point, and well worth considering, especially given the now known fallibility of eyewitness accounts. (Not that courts want to really consider that, since that would make convicting someone much, much harder.

On the flip side. This match is one which humans are well equipped to reason about. We know instinctively what "likeness" means and it's easy for (almost) everybody involved to judge the similarity between i.e. a mugshot and a grainy surveillance video. In fact the quality of the evidence (graininess or lack thereof) is easily grasped by police, prosecution, defence and jury alike.

This is very far from the case when it comes to even fingerprints, or horror of horrors DNA, where the quality of evidence and what risk factors are involved is "voodo" for 99.99% of society. Not even statisticians seem to be able to agree on a single definition of what a DNA match (esp. the kind we're talking about here, i.e. a fishing expedition match) actually means. So facial recognition has some redeeming feature from that perspective.

No racist comments, please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198703)

Before anyone says it in a demeaning, racist sort of way, yes, this man does happen to have black skin. No, he does not commit crimes because of the color of his skin. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a hateful racist. Please refrain from engaging in racist behavior in this story's discussion. Racism is already such a huge problem in America. We really don't need any more of it in this story's discussion. So please, I beg of you, keep any and all discussion clean. Keep it civilized.

Re:No racist comments, please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198723)

Why you gotta play the race card? Are you a dirty fucking nigger lover?

Re:No racist comments, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198809)

Fortunately, the majority of ignorant fools like you have greatly died out of the gene pool over the last several decades.

Re:No racist comments, please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199665)

Most criminals are black. That's more than just a coincidence.

Re:No racist comments, please. (1)

j-beda (85386) | about 2 months ago | (#47200231)

Most criminals are black. That's more than just a coincidence.

Worldwide? I would guess that most criminals are Asian in "ethnicity".

Re: No racist comments, please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200311)

Of course, it proves that racists wrote the laws.

FTFY (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47198727)

Chicago Robber Identified By Facial Recognition Sentenced To 22 Years

Caught would imply that he was walking down the street and facial recognition directed authorities to him. That did not happen.

Re:FTFY (1)

crackspackle (759472) | about 2 months ago | (#47198847)

Chicago Robber Identified By Facial Recognition Sentenced To 22 Years

Caught would imply that he was walking down the street and facial recognition directed authorities to him. That did not happen.

Police state would imply they're always watching you, whether they arrest you on the spot or come by later. There's also no real line for the police to cross except better technology and that will come.

Re:FTFY (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47198987)

Wow, somebody being arrested for an actual crime that the suspect actually committed is a "police state"? In a public place it is best to assume someone is always recording so don't commit a crime.

Re:FTFY (1)

crackspackle (759472) | about 2 months ago | (#47200351)

I am not concerned about this crime but rather how this technology can and will be used. I suppose one could argue this is no different than using fingerprints to catch a crook, except it is vastly more than that. AFIS only contains a small portion of the U.S. population’s fingerprints, mostly those who have already committed a crime. I doubt who decides everyone should be forced to give up their fingerprints and DNA while they’re at it to complete the database would have his job very long today, yet facial recognition doesn’t seem to bother a lot of people even though it’s being implemented all over the place and will ultimately go light years beyond what the former two can do.

It’s unavoidable. Because far too many have already surrendered to the idea that “public” space means the government can watch you, at some point it will. It’s damning. An image with a likeness and couple of witnesses who agree it looks like him is far more tangible to a jury than some dry facts and scientific testimonials. It’s inescapable. When combined with data mining, the government will have the perfect capability to track and essentially know all peoples movements, anywhere, anytime. Then it’s simply a matter of having in that does not like the fact you did to get the finger.

Re:FTFY (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47200761)

You missed one huge point. His face was matched against an arrest record. Finger prints were taken during the booking and so was his photo. It is exactly like fingerprints in this case.

Because far too many have already surrendered to the idea that “public” space means the government can watch you,

There was nothing to surrender. The government could always watch you in a public place.

An image with a likeness and couple of witnesses who agree it looks like him is far more tangible to a jury

I guess you don't understand the rules around a photo lineup [innocenceproject.org] . A photo lineup done wrong can get thrown out of court along will all evidence subsequently found.

When combined with data mining, the government will have the perfect capability to track and essentially know all peoples movements, anywhere, anytime.

Sorry but "Person of Interest" [wikipedia.org] is not reality and won't be for quite some time.

Its, ... its, ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47198733)

.... Guy Fawkes!

Re:Its, ... its, ... (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 months ago | (#47198853)

Wearing a mask is illegal in many states unless for medical reasons or weather.

http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/mcs... [anapsid.org]

Re:Its, ... its, ... (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47199113)

Wearing a mask is illegal in many states unless for medical reasons or weather.

Your own source seems to disagree with you. According to it, about half of the states blacklist specific, prohibited activities, but otherwise allow masks for anything else, while the other half whitelist a broad set of permitted activities that hit most of the common cases, but otherwise disallow masks.

Among those that blacklist activities, the lists are pretty much all the same: no wearing masks to conceal your identity while engaging in crime (i.e. it's one more charge they can add on top), no wearing masks to intimidate or harass people entitled to equal protection under the law (i.e. an anti-KKK clause that keeps them from wearing their hoods in public), and don't obstruct police officers. Among those that whitelist activities, they almost all carve out permitted exceptions for holidays, theatrical productions, Mardi gras, and the like, in addition to masks worn for work, health, weather, or religious reasons.

If you wanted to do something like have everyone wear Guy Fawkes masks at a protest or demonstration, the only place you probably wouldn't be allowed to do it would be Washington D.C., since they specifically prohibit wearing masks at a demonstration (which seems like a First Amendment issue to me, but the Bill of Rights hasn't gotten in the way of D.C. enacting all sorts of draconian laws :-/).

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198739)

.... "Welcome... TO THE PANOPTICON!"

This comment was brought to you in Surround Sound.

Mirror, seriously (2)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 months ago | (#47198767)

Every time he looks into a mirror in prison, Pierre D. Martin can blame his face for putting him behind bars.

No Dude, poor life choises put you behind bars, the best years of your life down the tubes for a smartphone. This is a perfect example of how stupid is a action verb, not a state of being.

Re:Mirror, seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198829)

choises?

Re:Mirror, seriously (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47199105)

Actually, more like "poor birth choices" in the united states.
15% of the top 1% are children of the top 1% 20 years ago.
30% of the bottom 20% are children of the bottom 20% 20 years ago.

Interestingly, a portion of the top 1% also flips back and forth between being in the top 1% and a negative income or zero income.

If you are born poor, educated by substandard schools, lack a stable family- your odds of "making poor life choices" is much higher.

Re:Mirror, seriously (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 months ago | (#47199435)

If you are born poor, educated by substandard schools, lack a stable family- your odds of "making poor life choices" is much higher.

Cry me a river. Tons of people grow up poor and don't commit crime. Likewise, tons of rich assholes commit crimes far more heinous than smartphone theft.

The only difference between the two is the rich guy is more likely to beat the rap, because he can afford better lawyers. That's an indictment of the criminal justice system, not an excuse for the poor choices of either the rich or the poor guy.

Re:Mirror, seriously (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200035)

As a criminal defense attorney who has represented many hundreds of defendants (including a large number of indigents), I regret to inform you that this is not actually true.

The average criminal case usually involves a mountain of evidence left behind a poorly planned and executed crime. The defendant's guilt is painfully obvious in 90 percent of cases and as a defense attorney, all you can do is try to maneuver your client into a less crappy bargaining position so he gets a palatable plea offer.

Actually "beating the rap" is reserved for two classes of people:
-people who don't get caught (not part of the sample I encounter, obviously)
-weak cases (about 5-10% of total in my experience)

If OJ Simpson had murdered his wife inside of a bank full of witnesses and cameras, it wouldn't have mattered how good his legal team was. The difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer is (in my personal experience) is the ability to win the close cases. The other 90-95 percent of cases, you are pretty much toast. Most of the big media cases are actually outliers where the state brings a completely unwinnable case (George Zimmerman, Casey Anthony, OJ) where even a moderately competent defense attorney can reduce the state's case to rubble. I can personally attest to the rarity of this.

Anyway, these guys aren't going to prison because they're poor or they got assigned a bad attorney, they're going because they consistently make bad choices and then compound them with worse choices until they're in the ground. It's difficult to appreciate until you've defended such people and watched them turn a getaway into an arrest, turn a weak case into a strong case, turn a good plea deal into a trial that culminates in a life year sentence, etc. It's truly stunning.

Return on Investment? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47198807)

It's kind of like the T. S.A.: jillions spent to catch one guy every 3 years.

Re:Return on Investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198927)

TSA has caught nobody! Not a single terrorist. Richard Reid and Mr. Sizzlepants were caught by passengers on the plane! Two out of ten billion passengers were terrorists! Sometimes TSA catches people that forget to leave their guns at home but never have they caught terrorists.

Re:Return on Investment? (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 months ago | (#47199469)

Sometimes TSA catches people that forget to leave their guns at home but never have they caught terrorists.

Who forgets where their firearm is? I have a concealed carry license. Multiple ones in fact, the combination is good in 30-35 States. I can tell you at any moment exactly where all of my firearms are and what condition (loaded, unloaded, last time they were oiled, etc.) they're in. I have precious little sympathy for someone that "forgets" where their firearm is. The very least that should happen to them is they lose their concealed carry licenses, because they're clearly too fucking stupid to carry a deadly weapon in the public space. Revoke their drivers licenses too, while we're at it, because I'll bet you $10,000 they're the same idiots who text and drive.

Re:Return on Investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199563)

Where are all your firearms and what condition are they in?

Re:Return on Investment? (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47200023)

"I forgot I was carrying it" is simply the most common excuse given by people caught with them, and is not necessarily the actual reason.

Re:Return on Investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47200091)

I have a concealed carry license. Multiple ones in fact, the combination is good in 30-35 States.

I'll bet being able to carry a concealed firearm has been really useful for you too.

TFA doesn't have his face... (1)

nicoleb_x (1571029) | about 2 months ago | (#47198821)

So why the heck can't they show his face in a story about facial recognition? Why the picture of a train? That has nothing to do with facial recognition! For all we know he has some incredibly unique face or maybe a tattoo across his forehead.

Re:TFA doesn't have his face... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 months ago | (#47200103)

So why the heck can't they show his face in a story about facial recognition? Why the picture of a train? That has nothing to do with facial recognition! For all we know he has some incredibly unique face or maybe a tattoo across his forehead.

There's 2 links in the summary - not to mention plenty of other articles about this exact story - the second one [suntimes.com] includes a photo.

Why a train? Probably because it was about a robbery that occurred on a train, but why are you asking that here when you could ask the author [arstechnica.com] ?

Coming soon... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 months ago | (#47198827)

Mugshots of everyone so they don't have to wait for priors to be able to use this technology.

Oh, wait. They're already half-way there with state IDs.

Re:Coming soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47198895)

State IDs? I was thinking Facebook.

Re:Coming soon... (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 months ago | (#47199057)

Mod parent up...

Re:Coming soon... (1)

SLot (82781) | about 2 months ago | (#47199681)

Have a passport? You already in the database. Served in the military or ever been fingerprinted? You already there as well.

Re:Coming soon... (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | about 2 months ago | (#47200175)

Most jobs of any significance require you to give your finger prints up anyway. Not a big deal if they want to put my ID photo in the big computer as well.

Facial Recog has a high failure rate (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 months ago | (#47198863)

Just saying.

All this will do is put stupid people in jail, while high-stealing bank execs walk the streets free.

Wear a balaclava (3, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 2 months ago | (#47198867)

Maybe he deserved this, sounds like it.

But it doesn't justify the mass surveillance being put in all over our public spaces. It can't even be justified on the cost, but far worse is the erosion of your freedom to go about your business without being tracked and monitored permanently. It might catch the odd transgressor, but that is not an acceptable enough reason to piss away all our privacy.

Oh but you have nothing to hide, so what? Well, it was Joseph Goebbels who first made that pithy remark about having nothing to fear, and look where that ended up - many perfectly innocent people had everything to fear.

The only reasonable response to mass CCTV is for everyone to wear a balaclava. Once the system is rendered useless, they might reconsider spending taxpayer's money on it. And it sends a strong message that we simply don't want to be tracked, even if we are not criminals.

Re:Wear a balaclava (0)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 months ago | (#47199511)

The only reasonable response to mass CCTV is for everyone to wear a balaclava.

Hmmm.... I can make an empty pointless political statement while looking like a tin-foil hat paranoid or I can be attractive to the opposite sex........

I wonder which of those two options the vast majority of the populace is going to opt for? ;)

Re:Wear a balaclava (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 months ago | (#47199557)

Heck, next thing you know people will be wearing masks or some such when doing crimes, so that the cops won't know who did what, even if they have photographs of the entire world population.

Criminals doing crimes in masks... work with me, people....

What"s A Criminal To Do? (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 2 months ago | (#47198949)

Crime is no longer a career choice. Crime has long been the employment of quite a few members of society but now they will be caught.

well under the GOP system better doctor then ER (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47199053)

well under the GOP system better doctor then ER and you get stuff that the ER does not do.

Re:What"s A Criminal To Do? (2)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 months ago | (#47199077)

Crime is no longer a career choice.

Armed robbery of people on a train haven't been a profitable profession for at least 150 years :)
And I'm basing that fact that it ever as profitable on movies :)

Crime has long been the employment of quite a few members of society but now they will be caught.

s/employment/desperate measure/

By the way, criminals being caught is not a new thing... close to 1 percent of the prison service eligible US population is behind bars.

Re:What"s A Criminal To Do? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 months ago | (#47199497)

"Professor, I feel it necessary to point out that criminal behavior is as unacceptable in the 24th century as it was in the nineteenth - and very much harder to get away with."

(The Geeks know which fictional character I'm quoting)

Re:What"s A Criminal To Do? (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 2 months ago | (#47200071)

Unless you're a banker or stock broker.

"He was later positively identified by witnesses" (1)

Crypto Cavedweller (2611959) | about 2 months ago | (#47198981)

So basically what facial recognition did here was provide an excellent lead on a suspect, not convict the guy.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199049)

This is new to Chicago? We've been using photographic evidences for decades here to identify criminals...

just execute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199051)

plenty of humans on the planet who aren't robbing people

Booking Photos Database (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 2 months ago | (#47199135)

What's the procedure about booking photos (and fingerprints taken at booking) in the US? Is it possible that your image could be on that database even if you were not convicted of a crime but just processed by the police even for something like being drunk one night and they brought you in to sober up?

Re:Booking Photos Database (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199929)

Doesn't matter. Do you have a driver's license? How about a passport? Well, then you're probably already in their image database.

Re:Booking Photos Database (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 months ago | (#47200499)

What's the procedure about booking photos (and fingerprints taken at booking) in the US? Is it possible that your image could be on that database even if you were not convicted of a crime...

You're booked when you're arrested, which is long before your trial. So lots of people have had mugshots taken who later were exonerated.
I doubt they are going to thrown out perfectly good records once they have them.

people steal phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199169)

wtf? I just walk into Radio Shack and buy my own flip phone. the criminal mind never ceases to amaze me.

Since When... (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 2 months ago | (#47199579)

He was later positively identified by witnesses.

Since when do eyewitnesses "positively" identify subjects?

you Fail It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199851)

Heavy hand of the Law (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47199911)

Is it just me or does the sentence sound unusually extreme, I mean using a firearm in the robbery should probably add to the sentence in most countries, but 22 years for stealing a phone and perhaps something similar one other time seems disproportionate.

The computer says it so it must be true (1)

n0w0rries (832057) | about 2 months ago | (#47200165)

I finally got screwed by ebay/paypal this year. Bought some cables to connect up some solar panels and the seller gave a tracking number that said delivered, even though I was home all that day, have video of the package not being delivered, but too bad so sad you are SOL.

So I lost $130, but just imagine what happens when the software says you did it when you didn't.

Finding the wrong match (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 months ago | (#47200417)

My problem with this would be if there were a blurry picture which then matched a few dozen people in the area. Then when the mugshots that all somewhat look like the guy are shown to the witnesses of course they are going to say, "Yup that looks like him."

Basically this system is going to be excellent at finding both the correct people and their doppelgängers. I certainly hope that in this case they were able to find some solid evidence.

But if they extended their database search a bit further into the Driver's licence photos, then it gets far more dangerous. Now they might find a few people who are a good match to their fuzzy photos and get warrants to kick down some doors.

So if I were a judge I would ask, "What else do you have?" after they showed me their sloppy detective work that hardly exceeded a google search in complexity.
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