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3D Biometric Facial Recognition Comes To UK

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the are-you-ready-for-your-closeup? dept.

Privacy 157

Roland Piquepaille writes "In the UK, where the recent Queen's speech about national identity cards generated lots of -- mostly negative -- coverage, another potentially invasive technology is being tested with very few criticism. For example, several police departments are now testing a 3D biometric facial recognition software from Aurora, a company based near Northampton. The use of facial recognition 'is rapidly becoming the third forensic science alongside fingerprints and DNA,' according to a police officer who talked to BBC News for 'How your face could open doors.'" (More below.)"The company claims its software is so sophisticated it can make the distinction between identical twins. And if the civil liberties groups continue to be neutral, this technology could also be deployed in airports or by private companies. Even banks are thinking to put cameras in their ATM machines to identify you. The good thing is that you will not have to remember your PIN. On the other hand, as with every new technology, is it safe for your privacy and is it possible to hack the system? Read more before making your decision."

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Thai sluts love facials. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936296)

I think a cheap Thai slut is recognizing the facials too that I and the other Bukkake guys had given her :)

long cocks they recognize!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936319)

Thai slurps huge cocks up their ass and facials afterwards. Long live my huge pron collection.

Virtual ID card (5, Insightful)

tetromino (807969) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936313)

If this technology is as good as Aurora claims, it can be used to implement a virtual ID card - just scan someone's face, and you can bring up their info from a database, no need for them to carry a piece of plastic around.

Obviously that's a privacy concern - but how can you regulate face recognition? It's fundamentally no different from having a live cop recognize your mug.

foolproof (4, Insightful)

Random_Goblin (781985) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936353)

I'm a bit concerned about the claims and assumtions regarding the "foolproof" nature of this technology.

Aurora say that they have a zero failure rate, but this is not proof on the "uniqueness" of their identification.

New technology like this very quickly becomes "magic" to the general public and the end users, and there is indeed a difference in the computer recognising your face vs a live cop... the computer is more likely to be assumed to be infallible

When they outlaw balaclava's... (5, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936382)


Seriously, are the cameras going to be set to raise an alert when someone walks down the street that they can't distinguish? Will police occasionally stop you and ask you to remove your stetson so that CCTV can calm down?

How reliable can this be? And if they can scan and recognize a face this effectively in the data, can we reproduce it in latex a la Mission Impossible... well enough to fool the system anyway?

And do we want the government to have this much data on people?

I can certainly answer the last question.

Re:When they outlaw balaclava's... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936508)

Will police occasionally stop you and ask you to remove your stetson so that CCTV can calm down?

You're only joking, but stetson misuse is indeed a huge problem in the UK, gangs of armed youths and trigger happy pensioners often roam the streets under the protection of stetson hats. In fact, it's a little known law in the UK that any school teacher or qualified butcher may commandeer a stetson from a member of the public if they are at risk from violent dogs (or wolves, although that claim has never been tested in court).

The Stetson Regulation Act due to appear in 2008 will likely reduce these incidents, making stetson bearers require a license. Which can of course be revoked if misused.

Re:When they outlaw balaclava's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936933)

Too late. It is already against the law to, say, wear a balaclava at a protest.

Re:When they outlaw balaclava's... (4, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937133)


Too late. It is already against the law to, say, wear a balaclava at a protest.

Yes. Doens't seem to stop the coppers wearing concealing face gear or getting vicious when someone points a video camera back at THEM.

Re:foolproof (5, Informative)

aslate (675607) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936572)

A good point they brought up on Question Time last week, they mentioned the "foolproofness" of ID cards, i think they were as optimistic as assuming a 1% failure rate.

They then went on to totally demolish this relatively high level of success by simply using numbers. There's about 60 million people in the UK, so that's 600,000 people that can be rejected. That sort of failure is just not acceptable for something such as a national ID car scheme.

Re:foolproof (3, Insightful)

owlstead (636356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936835)

You should not believe any claims that have such high numbers of success. Currently no facial recognition program can offer that. It's even the question if fingerprint identification has such high success rates though they will be undoubtedly be higher.

The question is if this is enough not to deploy biometrics. First of all, do you use it for authentication (passport) or identification (crowd scanning, door opening). The latter is a lot more difficult. Then there is the question if you accept the odd failure, and plan for it. For instance if you fail to authenticate at airport, there could be a separate line manned by humans. Unfortunately, the 1% will not be spread equally, some people might be unlucky a high percentage of the time.

Another problem that I've not mentioned is that there is a balance between false positives and false negatives. That is the difference between other persons being identified as you, and you not being identified. Most of the time there is a (delicate) balance between the two.

That's the problem with biometrics. You cannot just say if a certain failure rate is acceptable - it all depends on the parameters of the system you are using it in.

Re:foolproof (1)

aslate (675607) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936875)

Yes, i agree with you, you shouldn't believe any such high rates of success (It may even have been 10%, but the numbers are enough).

The problem is, i don't think they've made it clear how they're going to use the ID card scheme (No an ID Car as i said in the first post ;). They brought it in under the whole tightening of security, yet admit it won't prevent terrorism. They say it can help track immigration, but thousands (unknown numbers even) of illegal immigrants get into the country and aren't tracked.

Re:foolproof (2, Interesting)

Zemran (3101) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936736)

They can claim all they like but I think that they are being disingenuous. I have read many independant trials of this and all found problems. I do not proffess to be an expert, but I did work with forensic experts for 5 years until recently and we never found that facial recognition worked well enough, even to use as a guide. It was far too easy to fool and even when not trying to fool it the failure rate was high.

Even though it is not supposed to matter what hair do someone has it did seem to confuse the system when someone changed their hair. A swollen face or nose, from a fight or accident can affect it (relevant if you are talking about criminals) and even worse was it gave many false positives when looking for someone.

I think it is like the polygraph, it will be used excessively and create a lot of problems that will have to be sorted out later but because it is great sounding technology suits will like it.

Re:Virtual ID card (1)

codework (252361) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936427)

...just scan someone's face, and you can bring up their info from a database, no need for them to carry a piece of plastic around.

Or your twins.

Re:Virtual ID card (1)

MancDiceman (776332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936454)

A live cop isn't saying "well the distance between the corners of his lips is the same as Suspect X, his pupils are the same distance apart as Suspect X, his ears in relation to his other features are the same size and shape as Suspect X therefore he must be Suspect X" thereby triggering your immediate arrest and detention whilst you try to prove you are not Suspect X.

Meanwhile, Suspect X is walking around freely wearing some prosphetics that alter the shape of his nose, ears, corners of his lips, etc.

Re:Virtual ID card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936647)

How the do you think people recognise faces? We may not be aware of the full process we go through but you don't think that it would be anything like that?

Re:Virtual ID card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936507)

Why the heck would it fundamentally be the same? The idea as if this difference was more important as -- oh I don't know, say -- the fact that the scales are Big Brotheresque, is unfounded and self-defeating.

Re:Virtual ID card (2, Insightful)

mrogers (85392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936754)

An ID database in which you can generate a new identity by shaving is not a very useful ID database.

Re:Virtual ID card (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936848)

It's fundamentally no different from having a live cop recognize your mug.

The degree to which technology is involved can be regulated in certain places.

In Vegas, for example, it's not illegal to count cards, altho casinos will reserve the right to kick you out of the premises if they find out you are doing that. It is illegal to use devices to aid you in counting cards, however.

Unless privacy groups become more vocal and powerful than they currently are, it's unlikely that they will outlaw it. Forms of protests will be met with the age old "if you have nothing to hide..." argument, and before long, the terrorists issue will be brought into the discussion and so forth. And eventually, the technology will cross the ocean to the US and then we will see so pretty nifty flamewars in slashdot.

Re:Virtual ID card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936963)

It could also be used to identify police and informants. Technology cuts both ways.

Re:Virtual ID card (1)

Badfysh (761833) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937119)

but how can you regulate face recognition? It's fundamentally no different from having a live cop recognize your mug

It's different enough in that there is currently no such thing as a God-like cop who knows exactly where you are at any given time. For example, in London there is a traffic congestion charging scheme which uses a computerised system that can read car licence plates via one of the great many cameras dotted around the city. I believe this system achieves very high results and catches a lot of non-payers. It's a lot different to being randomly pulled over by a cop for a check occasionally. Now I'm not saying we shouldn't have to pay our dues but it illustrates the kind of scale the system could work on. If this facial recognition system were to operate in a similar way, then it would obviously be a civil liberties issue for regulation. Currently it is illegal for the UK authorities to spy on their own citizens, which in effect is what would be happening.

I am so sad... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936314)

Now I will have to end up looking like Mrs. Doubtfire whenever I want to go anywhere :(

Unfortunate.. (0, Troll)

modifried (605582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936315)

.. that such software is just surfacing now. 3D facial recognition could've helped a ton with the Clinton/Lewinsky affair.

Aurora hacked the Spice Girls (well Geri) (3, Interesting)

CheesyPeteza (814646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936322)

My friend was building a 3D scanner for his final year project. He went to Aurora for a tour and to see how they did it.

According to him they said that they'd taken Geri Halliwell's face and put it on to the body of a model for one of her videos as she was pregnant at the time. :o (this was around the beginning of 2000, I'm not a big Geri fan so I can't tell you what video it was)

I wasn't sure if I believed what Aurora had said at the time, and I'm still not. But if its true, this technology must be pretty advanced as that was 4 years ago.

Re:Aurora hacked the Spice Girls (well Geri) (2, Interesting)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936369)

If you saw the Discovery Channel documentaries where they resculpted faces of Hitler, Churchill & Roosevelt onto actors' bodies, it's obvious that we can no longer trust video as an authentic source.

For example, does the recent blurry video of Bin Laden [welfarestate.com] prove that he's still alive?

Re:Aurora hacked the Spice Girls (well Geri) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936449)

I saw a report on that and frankly was unimpressed. Despite their best efforts the results were certainly not good enough to fool the average viewer IMHO.

Re:Aurora hacked the Spice Girls (well Geri) (1)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936566)

The documentary footage used varied angles and needed to be convincing historically (aged film, period sets etc). You also knew it was fake and probably have some understanding of video FX.

Compare with the Bin Laden video, which has 1 angle (head on), is blurry and no-one knows what Bin Laden really looks like anyway.

We're also comparing a relatively small TV production budget with US multi billion dollar black-ops budget.

Re:Aurora hacked the Spice Girls (well Geri) (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936762)

no-one knows what Bin Laden really looks like anyway.

Well, no-one except Bert from Sesame Street [snopes.com] .

Re:Aurora hacked the Spice Girls (well Geri) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936453)

Ahhh, that was Posh Spice (who has kids), not Geri Halliwell (who hasn't).

Story kinda matches with what I've read, although I think that was just a case of smart video comping or a rendered model of her head. Looked at that way, it's plausible as it was the same year they CGI'd Oliver Reed into bits of Gladiator when he died mid-filming.

Bad day (5, Insightful)

snotman88 (829679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936339)

The problem with face recognition is that faces change. If you get a black eye from some fist fight, the computer won't recognize you. Children going through puberty can look completely different in a matter of months. What if you're wearing huge-ass sunglasses? What if you grow a beard? Will you not be able to ID yourself if you are wearing an eye-bandage?

eye patch... yarrrr!! (1)

Polarism (736984) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936469)

there be pirates trying to defeat your biometrics

Re:eye patch... yarrrr!! (1)

f4llenang3l (834942) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936688)

I would wholeheartedly support this technology exclusively on the condition that all criminals had to walk around dressed like pirates to fool the scanners. I mean, really, that would just be awesome. "Don't go down any dark alleys- you might be accosted by buccaneers"...

Re:Bad day (2)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936503)

Get a haircut and shave ... and you can't withdraw money anymore ?..

I'd have believed more in iris recognition ...

Re:Bad day (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936565)

In the article, one of the things it says is that it measures lots of the key distances on your face. Even if you grow a beard, it won't change the distance between your eyes or the space between your nose and your lips.

I would assume that it will be able to take account of temporary differences by being told (or automatically choosing to) ignore that part of the face.

Your face opens many doors... (5, Funny)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936344)

if you're pretty enough [uklinux.net] ...

You may jest but... (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936767)

Not to be like the dirty old dad in American Beauty...

My wife has a 19-year0old daughter who has this incredibly pretty (tall, thin, blond, beautiful face, very pleasant manner) but rather dizzy 18-year-old friend. She has stayed with us a couple of times. She also inherited a lot of money that she's trying to spend quickly (go figure).

One morning I took her to the station. She was going to see her boyfriend at university. She'd bought a load of stuff to take to him because he's a poor student. Later on I found out that the man selling the tickets at the station gave her the tickets (worth about $200 in US money) for free because she was so beautiful.

I was brought up in an egalitarian household. I had no idea this sort of things happens in Real Life.

I wish I was young, slim, blond and beautiful. :-)

I want to have a pin to remmember. (3, Funny)

aepervius (535155) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936346)

Because with all those biometric recognition system/ATM, all a junky robber would need off would be to cut my finger/eye/head whatever and try to match it against the ATM. With pin code they at least need you alive to tell them what the pin is.

Re:I want to have a pin to remmember. (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936513)

Oh, please, I hope they don't devise a biometric system where you need your pin to access. Think about the girls!

OK (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936798)

Maybe I should have said P.I.N. instead of pin :P. But i still stand that I want a password/Personal number so that nobody can use my body parts alone to open/enable a security feature like ATM.

subversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936355)

could a small laser attatched to the front of ones shirt with a lens that spreads the light in all directions in front of you be capable of still affecting cameras as much as the regular laser beam, or would the average powered pen laser laser with a lens like that be too weak to affect cameras in say, a 30 foot range?

Re:subversion (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936384)

a small laser attatched to the front of ones shirt with a lens that spreads the light in all directions in front of you


...wouldn't be a laser.

Re:subversion (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936403)


Can a laser burn out a video camera? Well, obviously a laser of sufficient power can, but I'm curious if cameras are especially sensitive to such technology, such that a fairly low-power device can ruin it?

I'm surprised more people don't paint bomb the CCTV cameras, actually. Would be fairly simple and a fun game for vandals who wanted to actually annoy those in power.

Re:subversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936655)

because they are too busy doing similar things to the speed cameras.

Re:subversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936819)

*cheer*
*cheer*
Come over to Aus and destroy ours too! :)

Re:subversion (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936827)

CCTV cameras are often arranged so that each camera is in view of another camera. Anyone disabling one camera will be caught on another.

Re:subversion (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936947)


Yes, I've noticed that of course. But I've often had a look at the pattern when I'm sitting somewhere and tried to puzzle out a sequence that would be successful. The ones that swivel are easier and these ones I think can be done - it's sort of a logic puzzle.

The dark orb ones are harder though because you don't know where they're pointing. For these ones you'd have to wear a hat. ;)

Re:subversion (2, Informative)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936420)

...wouldn't be a laser.

Yes it would be

A laser is a light source that creates coherent light by bouncing photons backwards and forwards through an active medium with mirrors. The light it discharges doesn't have to be in a perfectly straight beam, in fact no laser has ever been made that shoots out a perfectly straight beam. After passing through a lens the light would still be homogeneous even though it would flare out more.

In answer to the grandparents post: no, lasers only interfere cameras because of their intensity in a small area, spread that area out and you start requiring a laser diode the size of a car to do anything except provide extra illumination.

Re:subversion (1)

drosselmeyer (707244) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936532)

A system which uses a camera and a program to recognise other cameras with a few lasers under it's control would be possible though.

Re:subversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936576)

much appreciated!

Effect on fashion (4, Funny)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936380)


My first thought was, 'where should I paint the stripes on my face to confuse such a system?'. My next thought was 'actually, painting stripes on my face might cause worse problems, such as being called 'stripey' by small kids'.

All the same, it would be pretty cool if measures to avoid face recognition became a mark of toughness ('I'm a scary criminal, me, I have to avoid cameras') and then of fashion -- everything that's adopted by genuinely scary people winds up being worn by college kids 5-10 years later, after all. The result could be an interesting arms race between software designers and makeup artists.

Now I'm off to order my David Blunkett latex mask. Heh heh.

Re:Effect on fashion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936488)

Wow, 1970s glam rock makeup is finally going to come back into vogue! You can call me "Ziggy".

Article text (without the spam) (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936392)



3D Biometric Facial Recognition Comes To UK

In the UK, where the recent Queen's speech about national identity cards generated lots of -- mostly negative -- coverage, another potentially invasive technology is being tested with very few criticism. For example, several police departments are now testing a 3D biometric facial recognition software from Aurora, a company based near Northampton. The use of facial recognition "is rapidly becoming the third forensic science alongside fingerprints and DNA," according to a police officer who talked to BBC News for "How your face could open doors." The company claims its software is so sophisticated it can make the distinction between identical twins. And if the civil liberties groups continue to be neutral, this technology could also be deployed in airports or by private companies. Even banks are thinking to put cameras in their ATM machines to identify you. The good thing is that you will not have to remember your PIN. On the other hand, as with every new technology, is it safe for your privacy and is it possible to hack the system? Read more...

Here is the introduction from BBC News Magazine.

The ethical debate about identity cards has been reignited following the Queen's Speech, but its facial recognition technology is being used in other areas. Police are hailing it as a forensic breakthrough and a new "foolproof" 3D version could eventually become a routine procedure at cash machines or workplaces.

Once the preserve of science fiction, biometric facial recognition has now become a reality. Despite its association with the controversy of identity cards, it is predicted to become part of everyday life.

But is the technology ready?

As companies become more security conscious, the process of having our faces scanned is set to become more commonplace. And new technology which can produce this in a more accurate 3D form could accelerate this trend

A firm which has developed the 3D software, Aurora, claims it is sophisticated enough to distinguish between identical twins.

The brave BBC reporter tested the software for us.

I underwent the procedure myself and it only took a few seconds. A camera used a near-infrared light to put a virtual mesh on my face 16 times. It merged these into one unique template and calculated all the measurements of my features.

3D facial recognition software from Aurora Here is a computer screenshot showing you how thousands of points map your face and produce detailed measurements of what you look like
[image] [primidi.com]
Now, the real questions are to know if the technology gives accurate results and if it's possible to hack the system.

The government's biometric trials for passports and identity cards have reportedly experienced a 10% error rate in face recognition. The Home Office denies this and says that in any case its trials were only testing the procedures and the public response, not the technology.

Aurora claims its software eliminates these alleged errors. Founder Hugh Carr-Archer says: "We can't say it's 100% but we've done tests and have a zero failure rate.

According to the police, the 3D technology is still too expensive to be widely deployed, but it continues to use successfully 2D images.

It works by scanning an image of a suspect's face - such as a CCTV picture taken from a crime scene or a drawing based on eye-witness accounts. This produces a 2D map of the face which marks attributes such as the distance between the eyes.

Then the computer uses an algorithm to compare the data of this face to thousands of others on a database of offenders - people who have ever been arrested or charged. Within seconds it lists the matches in order of relevance, just like a web search engine.

Of course, this technology is not approved by the justice and can't be used in courts. But it's used by the police to detect potential suspects, which says the technology is really effective.

The West Yorkshire Police says 70% of images searched have produced useful intelligence worth researching further, with two or three arrests a week as a result.

_ _ _ _
next time Roland try and add some insight instead of just copying vertabim from the BBC (you did get permission didnt you ?)

mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936535)

Reposting BBC articles is pointless - they do not get slashdotted, in fact, the BBC could probably show /. what a slashdotting is like...

Re:mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936839)

he/she copy n pasted it from Roland Pip's site,who is well known here for reposting other peoples content without permission on an advert laden for-profit blog
abusing copyright is one thing, abusing it for profit is something else (see russian media pirates for more details)

Re:Article text (without the spam) (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936775)

the computer uses an algorithm to compare the data of this face to thousands of others on a database of offenders - people who have ever been arrested or charged. Within seconds it lists the matches in order of relevance, just like a web search engine.

Am I the only one who's worried by the implicit assumption that all crimes are committed by people who've previously been arrested or charged? This technology sounds ideal if you're a policeman looking for a plausible "usual suspect" to blame for an unsolved crime. If, on the other hand, you're trying to find out which member of the general population actually committed the crime, there's a risk of being led down the garden path by this technology.

Re:Article text (without the spam) (1)

lakin (702310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936858)

They tend to use the same assumption with other technologies too. From the Metropolitan Police Service [police.uk] : "Now the MPS Bureau has a database of 1.5 million fingerprints of people charged with offences and a collection of over 70,000 unidentified marks left at scenes of crimes."

Or, are you suggesting they form a national database and ID card scheme? ;)

Tinfoil hats aside... (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936400)

This could be very useful. I carry various swipe-cards and keys for hy home, car, places of work, etc. I frequently find myself absentmindedly trying to open a lift door with a swipecard, opening house door with car alarm keyfob, etc

This could save SO much time...

Re:Tinfoil hats aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936410)

And it would be absolutely useless for me: I don't have any swipe-cards, no PINs to remember (no credit card) and I have 1 key for my car and 1 key for my house. I don't see any improvement for me.

Re:Tinfoil hats aside... (2, Informative)

Ha11owed (458197) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936413)

As long as the back of your head closes them.

Re:Tinfoil hats aside... (2, Insightful)

Sexy Bern (596779) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936502)

I'd go along with it being convenient, but saving time??

What are you going to do with all the accumulated time that you save? You can't exactly tack it on to the end of your life and enjoy a few more weeks!

And no, I'm not having a go at you, just everything that claims to save us time. Most people seem to waste their spare time watching shitty soaps or sitcoms or reality TV (or reading slashdot :D)

Re:Tinfoil hats aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936523)

Dumbass.

Re:Tinfoil hats aside... (1)

Mhtsos (586325) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937205)

That's what you get for removing your tin foil hat: Let me point out that none of those things you're carrying can authenticate your preasense without you wanting it to. But you can't leave your face at home or in your pocket like your keys or your card. You need a standardised personal identification token to deliver you from the confusion of multiple keys/fobs/cards (from which I myself suffer) but won't run the risk of being used without your knowledge or permission.

Feeble Queen's speech (4, Insightful)

jocks (56885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936444)

It is geneally agreed that the latest Queen's speech (which is a speech made by the Queen using a script given to her by the incumbent government of the day) was a feeble affair which did little to reassure an already pissed off public.

The current Labout government run by T. Blair is generally seen to be scaremonegering over things like terrorism and crime to justify a new raft of draconian measures. Each one of these measures has been a cynical attempt to limit liberty within the UK. There has already been a government funded surevey judgning the "peoples" attitude towards ID cards which, according to the government, showed an overwhelming support for the scheme. Until, of course, it was discovered that the survey was far from impartial and the sample group was so small as to be non-representative.

Technology aside I fear for my children's liberty, they are already unable to do the stuff I used to do as a child - like blow things up with home made gunpowder, whittle wood with a knife (yes knives are soon to be banned in this moronic country) and when they get older they won't be able to smoke a cigarette (yep, smoking is banned too).

No, don't be lured by the technology, this is a bad thing. I hope my American cousin's don't let the president push them into accepting a loss of liberty in the name of some ficticious threat. It looks like this country is starting to fall foul of the lie that is "The war on terror"

Re:Feeble Queen's speech (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936492)

The current Labout government run by T. Blair is generally seen to be scaremonegering over things like terrorism and crime to justify a new raft of draconian measures. Each one of these measures has been a cynical attempt to limit liberty within the UK.

So, Blair is pretty much like the other founders of the "Coalition of the Willing" (George Bush and John Howard). It seems strange that the leaders of the historically "most free" nations are all trampling over liberty now, while the Germans and Eastern European nations complain.

Re:Feeble Queen's speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936541)

What the hell are you on about?

Kives and smoking are not banned in the UK.

Re:Feeble Queen's speech (1)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936552)

Wrong, you can be arrested if you're found with _any_ kind of knife on you (like even the letter opener type). Terrorist, see?

Re:Feeble Queen's speech (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937288)

I wish there was someone I could vote for that was both serious about the war on terror (lowercase) and the longterm need to increase security as more and more tech comes into the hands of the common man, but actually understood security, like Bruce Schneier.

(This trend is just beginning; can you imagine what a paranoid schizophrenic could do with a nanotech desktop assembler? Schizophrenia often leaves intelligence untouched, or can even focus it...)

This message is not political; note that while one party wants draconian measures and the other may not, the reason the other doesn't want them isn't that they won't work, it is other things... I daresay mostly that it isn't their party in power is one of the big ones, but expense factors in too. But it is the fact that they don't work that is the real reason to not like them, and the fact that there are other easy things we could be doing to enhance security without trading liberty that we don't do because the model of security used by government officials is basically a totalitarian, centralized one.

No political party anywhere has even the slightest fucking clue about security. Well into the unskilled and unaware [apa.org] zone.

Easy to defeat (4, Interesting)

MancDiceman (776332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936445)

I've recently lost about 5Kgs of weight, and my face, particularly the shape, is quite different. I look at pictures of myself just 3 months old and even I look quite different. Even friends who see me every day comment on it.

This technology could be flawed by people just gaining and losing weight. Look at pictures of people who have lost a lot of weight and you'll see their cheeks, chin, even lips all look completely different. If this system is so "accurate" it can distinguish between identical twins, what happens when people eat too many twinkies or lose a few kgs?

Re:Easy to defeat (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936470)

You're correct. Losing 5 kilograms, (for people in US, 5 kg is approx equal to 200 pounds), can change your face totaly. That's why we are constantly losing friends and not able to recognize relatives who have just lost _several_ kilograms. It's not easy, but these days as people are really, really fat, it's possible to lose 5 kilograms of fat just from your face in three months.

Re:Easy to defeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936555)

5kg is 11 pounds.

'How your face could open doors.' (3, Funny)

Agret (752467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936451)

'How your face could open doors.'

Yo momma's so ugly that doors open whenever they see her.

Re:'How your face could open doors.' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936784)

Yo momma's so fat, her face opens double doors.

facial recognition (5, Funny)

pedicabo (753738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936452)

The reason we Brits aren't getting excited about this advert for a software company is very simple. It will need to get government backing. That means it will drown in red tape long before it hits the streets. The IT record of the UK government is a long list of what not to do.

Re:facial recognition (1)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936543)

Hmmmmm, but don't you see? This face recognition stuff is 'modern' and '21st century'. That means it must be great and wonderful and good and the answer to world hunger. It's soooooo much better than old fashioned, inefficient 20th century ways, don't you see????///??

The british public must be sooooo stupid for not seeing this. In fact they're so stooooopid that hey, fuck 'em, who cares what they think??//!!!1111 (They're all terrorists anyway...)

The fact is, because this has something do to with new technology - it'll be rushed through by some shitty private company who really doesn't care about whether it'll acually _work_ in the end, cos they know that the govn'ment will chuck billions of public money at them anyway.

oh, and if you want a rather frightening example of our shiney new police state, read the editorial of the today's sunday telegraph. A man arrested for having a small swiss army knife in his briefcase, no more dangerous than a letter opener (after a random search of his car). I'm afraid that our fucked up police state is real and we're living it, all thanks to Mr. blunkett (and of course, the morons who voted for them in the first place...)

Re:facial recognition (2, Informative)

bitkari (195639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936568)

Unfortunately the government absolutely loves CCTV. They are continually rolling out new CCTV projects all over the country - The management of which is controlled by councils not the government IT quagmire. A system that improves the effectiveness of CCTV is likely to be lapped up by the British government

In Manchester, they've spent millions [bbc.co.uk] to blanket the city in CCTV cameras over the last few years with next to zero reduction in crime as a result. The police have started using mobile video units to supplant the existing system. Other councils are doing the same, and some are already trialling facial recognition software.

David Blunkett's current plans show no signs of backing away from a surveillance society, and with the government easily passing [publicwhip.org.uk] so-called 'anti-terror' legislation, I can't see CCTV with the cherry of recognition being a problem for them.

Re:facial recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936681)

Please please please please don't vote for them next time round. I know the tories aren't perfect but new labour's on a whole different scale of bad.

8 years has been bad. Let's not make it 12 (*shudder*).

That list in detail (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936795)


The UK Government's Important List of What Not To Do in IT:

1 -- Employ EBS
2 -- Employ EBS for pretty well every contract
3 -- Pay strangely high fees to EBS
4 -- Never complain when EBS fucks up, just start a new contract
5 -- Anything else to do with EBS

I can remember when the UK was pretty well without corruption at the national level, and it _wasn't even long ago_. Remember how terrible it seemed in Major's time when someone got a kickback for asking a question? It would just be line noise now.

Re:That list in detail (1)

Nine Tenths of The W (829559) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936943)

EDS

I can remember when the UK was pretty well without corruption at the national level, and it _wasn't even long ago_

You mean like Mark Thatcher's arms negotiations? Or tied ECGD loans to arms buyers? Or Tory MPs sitting on corporate boards? Or Thatcher's subsidies to large land owners (eg Tory Lords) etc etc etc. Labour just don't bother hiding it like the Tories did

Re:That list in detail (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936969)


Yeah... it just seems so small now, compared to rail privatization / utilities privatization. It's true that the Tories did hide it -- question is, does Labor not hide it because they understand the English and know they don't need to, or because they tried to but aren't very good at it? I used to think the former, but I changed my mind after the Mowlam and Byers affairs because they just looked so amateurish.

but all they need.... (-1, Troll)

nilbog (732352) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936467)

All they need is to ask to see the person's teeth to tell whether or not they are british...

Failed trail? (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936545)

Wasn't there a failed trail of face recognition by one of the UK police forces - they installed software that would match faces of known offenders with live CCTV footage and identify them. However, I believe it was a complete disaster, and the system identified nearly all false positives. I can't quite remember the police force in question, but the software was from a US company specialising in biometrics...again, I'm not sure which one exactly.

Re:Failed trail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10937077)

No offense, but you need to learn the difference between a "trail", which is something that you might walk along, and a "trial", which is a limited test. You've twice used the former when you mean the latter in your post and its subject line.

CCTV Footage? (2, Interesting)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936561)

CCTV must have come on in leaps and bounds recently. The pictures from CCTV footage that are shown on tv (Does anyone recognise this man seen robbing a post office last week) are usually of appalling quality.

Sh1t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936592)

Re: Feeble Queen's speech (2, Informative)

Etiol (672326) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936614)

To be honest, I think it's reasonable to limit children's access to explosives.

Obviously knives aren't being banned - chefs would get a little upset. Carrying an "offensive weapon" [which can be pretty much anything if the police know how to frame a leading question] has been against the law since the year dot, and has never stopped me carrying a pen-knife.

As for smoking, it's being banned in public places [except pubs that don't serve food], which again sounds reasonable to me.

I'm much more worried about ID cards, the continuing assault on jury trials etc. myself.

Re: Feeble Queen's speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936636)

If you're searched and found with any kind of knife you can be arrested.

Re: Feeble Queen's speech (1)

Etiol (672326) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936651)

If you're searched and found with a rolling pin you can be arrested, too. It's not the nature of the object, but what you intend to do with it, that counts.

Re: Feeble Queen's speech (1)

Etiol (672326) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936644)

Damn. I was trying to reply to this [slashdot.org] .

Re: Feeble Queen's speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936747)

Due to the immigration policies of governments of the last 50 years, we in Britain have a stark choice:

1) Deport the muslims
OR
2) Become a muslim state
OR
3) Become a police state

The muslims can never live in a democracy, because democracy is based on the rule of law. The laws were and are coceived by men, which is not acceptable to the muslims who believe only allah's laws are real.

The option of deporting the muslims is generally discounted due to naive liberal sensitivities.

The option of submitting to allah not acceptable to us materialistic and self centred Brits.

Therefore we must enforce these laws strongly on an unwilling people (police state)

How can we trust them? (1)

dbCooper0 (398528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936699)

When they can't even get the acronyms right?

Using facial biometrics provides an added, more accurate level of verification than such systems as an ID card (which can be lost or stolen) or a pin number (which can be forgotten or used fraudulently).

Am I the only one in the WORLD who knows what the "N" in "PIN" stands for?

Jeez...and I wanted to think that the lack of knowledge was limited to telephone monkeys and cashiers...

Re:How can we trust them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936745)

thanks for keeping the telephone monkeys and cashiers in the dark you elitist prick

Re:How can we trust them? (1)

dbCooper0 (398528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936812)

If you are a telephone monkey or a cashier, I extend my condolences.

As to your remarks, I am far from an "elitist prick", although I am willing to guess that you have a HOT water HEATER in your domocile, don't you? Asswiper...I'd give you more rebuttal if you had enough spine to post when logged in...as if you had the spine to even qualify...

similar faces (4, Informative)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936731)

the "distinquish identical twins" is hype and irrelevant.

As with all such systems it doesn't recognise faces but a metric derived from the face. It's entirely possible that two or more different faces can have the same metric (within the limits of the measuring process.)

So what do you do if someone matches your metric and is a terrorist? Unless you solve the false positive problem, and in a population of a billion people there are always going to be many false positives, you haven't solved face recognition.

This is not a theoretical problem. Already people have been falsely imprisoned because their DNA matches some found at a crime scene.

This quest for perfect identification is a waste of time and money.

just smile? or don't? (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937189)

wasn't some system of facial recognition duped by people smiling in one shot and not the other.

Facial similarity (2, Insightful)

ljubom (147499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936739)

What about following scenario: Somebody commit a crime, but he is not in the database. You look similar, thus in "search engine" you will have a high position. There are witnesses, but you look similar (you know, it was night, fog, but it could be...), and computer says it's you. Bingo!

My face (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936772)

usually gets doors slammed in it. That, or slapped. So now I have a new kind of abuse to look forward to?

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10936791)

...your face recognises DOORS, ATMs, AND THE POLICE!

Yawn (3, Insightful)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 9 years ago | (#10936892)

UK police departments have been using 3D biometric facial recognition since the day they first opened their doors. All they're doing now is supplementing expensive trained officers with cheaper new tools.

Seriously, if you people are technophobes on this level, you should log off right now and sell your computer. You can probably use the money to buy enough wood to build a shack in the mountains somewhere.

Oh, wait, you'd never survive that way; you're probably a hoplophobe, too.

Yes, correct person, then... (4, Insightful)

Ian.Waring (591380) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937071)

I once chaired a security meeting at a large UK telco, and was seated in a chair with a grandstand view of a device that let people into a very secure area of the building if they allowed it to examine their iris.

Seemed to work impressively until three people showed up at the door, one spied into the iris reader, door opened and the other two just tailgated through.

Fine, if it WORKED . . (1)

alhaz (11039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10937282)

Face recognition software has never worked. And by that i mean that it has never caught a criminal. Ever. It's never happened.

Funny thing is, it's not a new concept. Before the advent of fingerprinting, law enforcement in a number of countries used a hand measured set of facial metrics to identify criminals.

One of the events that precipitated widespread fingerprinting was a day when a guy was picked up for being a shady character who looked just like a guy on a wanted poster. They get him in, start measuring features on his face. Everything is lining up, then one of the guards says, "Hey, I know this guy" - and realizes that they already have this guy in custody, has been in for years.

At that point, when they had evidence of the fallability of their facial recognition system right there in the same prison, there was a loss of confidence, and a need for a better system.

Face recognition vs. fingerprinting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10937301)

This is less scary than fingerprint recognition. Crook can defeat both methods with gelatine, but if they can't be bothered to get any, I'd rather there was no incentive whatsoever to cut off my finger.
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