RealNews

Technology Strains to Find Menace in the Crowd

Face-recognition technology, often touted as a promising tool in the fight against terrorism, earned a bad reputation after it failed miserably in some well-publicized tests for picking faces out of crowds. Yet, on simpler challenges, the technology’s performance is improving and business has been growing. Major casinos now use the technology to spot card counters at blackjack tables. Washington is planning to require the technology in the next generation of American passports. Several states are using face-recognition systems to check for individuals who have obtained multiple driver’s licenses by lying about their identity. And Pinellas County, Fla., recently began deploying the system in police cars so officers can check the people they stop against a database of photographs without having to go back to the office. Face-recognition systems, using cameras and computers to map someone’s facial features, collect the data for storage in databases or on a microchip on documents like passports. Making the technology work has required nearly perfect lighting and cooperative subjects, conditions that are not present when trying to spot suspected terrorists and criminals in a crowd. Full Story

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