The day when access badges and PIN codes will be outdated may be coming. Facial Recognition Technology is a hot topic these days. It is popping up online, in newspapers, and on TV. All you’ll need to bring with you will be your face. And when that day comes your face may prove to be your best friend, or your worst enemy.
Trying to check your text messages?
Recently, Google and Samsung introduced Galaxy Nexus, built on the Android 4.0 Ice cream Sandwich platform. One of the options it offers is facial recognition. Upon setup, you hold the screen up to your face so the phone can scan and store your image. That’s all it takes. Next time you check your messages, just look into it and if the real time scan matches the stored image, access is approved and the phone unlocks, and you’re ready to go.
This Guy Looks Suspicious, let’s check him out.
The FBI is preparing to inaugurate a nationwide facial recognition system. Authorized personnel of participating states will be able to upload a photo of a suspect into the bureau’s biometric identification system. If there are possible matches, a file of mug shots ranked by similarity to the facial features of the person in the photo will be sent to the inquiring agency. Hopefully you will not be on either end of this procedure.
The Privileged Few
Facial recognition verification procedures are already established at business such as banks, retail stores and places of amusement where high rolling customers enjoy VIP privileges. If you meet the membership requirements, your face is scanned into the system and on subsequent visits a facial recognition door lock real time scan must match up with the stored image in order for you to enjoy whatever privileges your status entitles you to.
Keep the Line Moving
The practices so far discussed are designed for one-at-a-time identity checks but what about time critical locations where scanning faces one at a time would result in huge bottlenecks and loud outcries? In the interest of speeding up the process without comprising today’s security requirements, crowd-based solutions have been developed that barely slow the pace of foot traffic. These make use of biometric analysis of facial features.
In order for optimal facial analysis certain requisites apply:
– Video Cameras must be mounted at eye level of a person of average height.
– The face must be captured in as close a frontal position as possible with a pan or tilt of no more than +/-15.
– It is critical that the eyes be visible.
– Only minor parts of the face may be covered.
The video streams to a tracking station where it is analyzed for face visibility, position, and rotation angle, relying heavily on eye position. Next the face is cropped from the frame, scaled, and rotated to a size of 128×128 pixels. The extracted face is then time stamped and given a camera identifier before being sent on to be compared to a data base of similarly configured images of persons on targeted watch lists of terrorists, kidnappers, and fugitives. If a match is made, an alert is issued and sent to manned alert monitors dedicated to receiving and displaying just such alerts, allowing security officials to focus on the identified person.