The accuracy of machines relative to human performance in facial recognition has naturally increased with the computational abilities of machines and employment of advanced algorithms, compared to 10 years ago, according to Alice O'Toole, professor at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas).
Efforts to produce evidence-driven, equitable and outcome-focused policies for biometric technology have been impeded by a lack of in-depth knowledge, poor implementations, false information and emotions running high.
Civil libertarians are wrong to fear facial recognition and other biometric identity technologies. But, they will fundamentally change the way we must think about privacy and could have very negative consequences for democracy if not regulated correctly, said constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, George Washington University, at the AFCEA International Federal Identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida.
Facial recognition “is perfectly suited to blow privacy law to pieces,” Turley told the audience in his closing keynote.
One or two inaccurate studies, amplified by a media focused on conflict, have stoked Americans’ concern about facial recognition, tainted the public conversation and led to flawed legislative proposals to ban the technology, experts told AFCEA International’s Federal Identity Forum and Expo Wednesday.
“We had a couple of academic papers come out that unfortunately were pretty wrong, to be blunt,” said Duane Blackburn, a science and technology policy analyst with The Mitre Corporation, and one of the conference organizers.
Facial recognition technology has become “spectacularly” more effective at matching an individual with their photo in a gallery of millions of pictures, according to the latest research by U.S. government scientists.
“The algorithms now are spectacularly more successful [at matching two pictures of the same person] than they were when we first tested this technology in 2010,” Patrick Grother, the biometrics testing project leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told AFCEA International’s Federal ID Forum and Expo Tuesday.
Army researchers are providing a system to forces in Iraq that provides contact-free fingerprint, facial recognition and iris detection capabilities. The system has been deployed to an undisclosed location as part of a joint urgent operational need and will be assessed for about 30 days to determine if it might be used elsewhere.
It is designed to control access to sensitive areas. Personnel with common access cards simply walk through the system as they would any checkpoint, and the technology reads their various biometric signatures and displays the data on a screen monitored by an operator.
With modern society’s infatuation with selfies, facial recognition technology could easily be used to identify common physical traits of criminals, pinpoint communities dominated by potential offenders and then help determine where to focus crime-prevention programs.
A group of University of Maryland (UMD) researchers has developed an algorithm that can not only detect a face, but also simultaneously determine the gender and pose, and extract fiducial, or reference, points.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has provided funding and support for the invention, which has been dubbed HyperFace. The algorithm simultaneously detects faces; finds facial landmarks, including eye center, nose tip, etc.; estimates the head pose; and recognizes the person’s gender from any real-world images and videos, Rama Chellappa, UMD chair of electrical and computer engineering, said in a written announcement.
Trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers, according to a new assessment. The assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” Jonathon Phillips, a face recognition researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), said in a written announcement.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has selected MorphoTrust, Billerica, Massachusetts, as the prime contractor for its new Universal Enrollment Service (UES), the company recently announced. UES will transition multiple programs into a consolidated service with convenient locations for individuals requiring enrollment and registration for programs serviced by TSA. The checks include the capture of biometric (facial pictures and fingerprints) and biographic data to ensure that individuals seeking access to critical segments of the nation's transportation system, infrastructure, or sensitive materials do not pose a threat to national security.