Facial recognition catches its first criminal in Chicago

Brittany A. Roston - Jun 10, 2014
Facial recognition catches its first criminal in Chicago

Factions have split over surveillance technology like facial recognition, with some welcoming it and others expressing concern about its use, particularly in light of leaks alleging the NSA is mass collecting images in relation to it. The technology served a valid purpose in recent times, however, leading to the first arrest in Chicago based off of its use.

The Chicago Police Department was given a $5.4 million federal grant to acquire the technology, which it began using last year. The robber, Pierre D. Martin, was imaged on CTA surveillance cameras during a couple of armed robberies, both involving the theft of smartphones using a firearm.

Martin was said to already have an image in the police database over previous legal scuffles. Using NeoFace facial recognition technology, the Chicago Police Department compared the surveillance images to a database of 4.5 million booking shots, and Martin’s was reportedly displayed as the top result.

Whether facial recognition is a valid technology in its current form for identifying criminals is still under debate. Some call ethics into question, and the existence of items like stealth clothing and facial recognition obscuring makeup hint at a future where privacy and technology increasingly battle.

SOURCE: Ars Technica

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