Technology is on an up rise, as is the act of terrorism and other various crimes. Countries such as the United States are taking many precautions to prevent these heinous crimes. One prevention technique that the United States has started using is facial recognition. The freedictionary.com website defines facial recognition as: "biometric identification by scanning a person's face and matching it against a library of known faces," (The Free Dictionary, 2012) "they used face recognition to spot known terrorists." This paper will help one understand what facial recognition is, who uses facial recognition, and when they use it. This paper will take a look into a couple of cases where facial recognition has been used. Also, it will look into the controversies that happen with the of the facial recognition software. Facial recognition may not be on the top tier of criminal investigations, but it certainly has come a long way since its inception. Facial Recognition-Who, What, and When?
Biometrics is where facial recognition can categorized. According to the Criminal Investigation text book, biometrics is: "the statistical study of biological data and means to positively identify an individual by measuring the person's unique physical or behavioral characteristics" (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg. 139). Outside of criminal investigation, facial recognition is being used when somebody goes to apply for a new identification card. The facial recognition system uses previous pictures to make sure that the person is who they say they are (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg.214). Other uses of facial recognition systems are: searching large data bases for criminals, verifying travelers at border crossings, checking people against blacklists, and analyzing surveillance videos for criminals (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg.214).
In most cases, the "facial recognition technology works by identifying various distinguishing features and measurements of an individual human face in an image and comparing them to images stored in a large database of pictures matched with other data" (Waxman, 2013). Many problems have come about for facial recognition. For starters, facial recognition is still relatively new to criminal investigations. Also, "unlike fingerprints, the face is always changing" (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg.215). A person can also get facial reconstruction surgery, then they would pass through facial recognition scanners undetected if they were a criminal. The use of facial recognition also has to endure problems such as: tight budgets, negative perceptions of the software used, and the lack of images the system has yet to gather (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg.215).
The table below is from the Criminal Investigation text book (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg.216). All of the information used in the table can be used to identify a suspect in a criminal investigation, but the bold and underlined sections are the parts that the facial recognition software devices can pick up on. Facial recognition has come a long way from the technology that creates it, to where it is used. the experts behind facial recognition believe that it must become a backbone for both biometrics and law enforcement. "The ability to identify a suspect by the face is critical when a suspect refuses to cooperate or is [know to be] dangerous" (Orthmann, Hess, Cho, & Bennett, pg. 215). Table 7.1 Key Items in Suspect Identification.
Build-stout, average, slim; stooped, square shouldered
Race-Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, European, African America, etc. Face-long, round, square; fat, thin; pimples, acne, scares.
Complexion-flushed, swallow; pale, fair, dark.
Hair-color; thick, thin, partly bald, completely bald; straight, curly, wavy; long, short. Forehead-high, low; slopping, straight, bulging.
Eyebrows-bushy, thin, average.
Eyes-color, close together, wide set; large, small;...
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