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Police: Face recognition software identifies California robbery suspects

Posted on in Dealing with the Police

While courts have been struggling with the validity and constitutional fairness of the use of technological gadgets used to create evidence in criminal cases, a law enforcement agency in California claims that a facial recognition program has linked two people to three California armed robberies. A sergeant from the Lancaster Sheriff's office says the facial recognition program is "only available to law enforcement."

The technology "is a relatively new program that uses advancing technology to compare clear facial photos to booking photos already in the database," according to the sergeant. Deputies say that a 31-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were arrested last week, based at least in part on the new technology, to which only police have access.

Law enforcement claims that the man and woman teamed up to commit the alleged armed robberies at businesses that had no customers present at the time of the offenses. The Lancaster sergeant says that, "The male suspect would wait for the other patrons to leave the targeted businesses before approaching the cashiers."

Law enforcement claims that the man covered his face with sunglasses and a hoodie during the alleged robberies. However, deputies say a surveillance video captured an image of the man, which was fed into the facial recognition software program, which includes a database of booking photos.

Law enforcement claims the computer spit out a potential match within minutes. Authorities claim they later located a vehicle that detectives think was used in at least one of the robberies. Deputies apparently used that information to arrest the man and woman on suspicion of several armed robberies.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News, "Police use new facial recognition technology to arrest 2 armed robbery suspects," Jan. 27, 2012

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