Facial recognition used in riots, Olympic Games

Powered by SC Magazine

Police, vigilantes, tap into facial recognition.

Facial-recognition software to be deployed at the London Olympics next year has had a trial by fire as British police employ the technology to track rioters.

Britain's Metropolitan Police said the system was put through its paces as officers tried to identify troublemakers.

Chief constable Andy Trotter of the British Transport Police told the Associated Press that the software was being used to identify people involved in the looting and violence, but said it was being used alongside conventional photo identifying methods.

A press officer with Scotland Yard confirmed that facial recognition technology was at the force's disposal.

An Olympics spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers said only police would use a "range of technologies at the venues to help protect visitors”.

UK police forces have been mulling facial recognition for some time, but the plans to use the technology at the Olympics, and to track rioters, marked new developments.

The technology outlined in police documentation involves a dimensional grid system, with software used to compare the distances between features of a sample image with images of known criminals stored on a police database.

"You have to have a good picture of a suspect and it is only useful if you have something to match it against," a police spokesperson told the Associated Press. "In other words, the suspect already has to have a previous criminal record."

But online vigilante groups had sprung up and were matching photos of wanted rioters published by British police on Flickr to Facebook accounts.

The group closed access to its Google Groups discussion thread, but it was reported that it was using Facebook's photo tagging system, Face.api, to identify the rioters.

Earlier, three researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University's Alessandro Acquisti developed an iPhone application which allowed photos taken with the phone's camera to identify individuals to publicly available Facebook pictures.

It accurately identified about a third of university students who volunteered to have their webcam photos matched against a database of 25,000 students.

The research was discussed at BlackHat, Las Vegas.

Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

Facial recognition used in riots, Olympic Games
Top Stories
Making a case for collaboration
[Blog post] Tap into your company’s people power.
Five zero-cost ways to improve MySQL performance
How to easily boost MySQL throughput by up to 5x.
Tracking the year of CIO churn
[Blog post] Who shone through in 12 months of disruption?
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
Latest Comments
Which is the most prevalent cyber attack method your organisation faces?

   |   View results
Phishing and social engineering
Advanced persistent threats
Unpatched or unsupported software vulnerabilities
Denial of service attacks
Insider threats