Face Forensics launches victim identification system with biometrics and tattoo recognition
Face Forensics has developed a new victim identification system for use in investigations into human trafficking and child abuse, based on its biometrics and tattoo recognition.
The update to the f2 facial recognition software is optimized for accuracy in matching faces, scars, distinguishing marks and tattoos in images faced by investigators, including those that have faded or been cropped, repixelated, or rotated.
The software integrates the company’s existing corpse identification and partial image matching capabilities to help identify victims.
“This is an extension of a system we developed for the International Red Cross in Paris which was designed to help identify the bodies of North African migrants who’d drowned in the Mediterranean trying to get to Europe,” Face Forensics CEO Iain Drummond told Biometric Update in an email. “It focuses on dead faces, where the challenge is that f2, like all face recognition systems, places a lot of emphasis on the area around the eyes because the rest of the face has few other sharp, high contrast features which can be used accurately. We’ve added our scars, marks, and tattoo matching technology to this so that when trying to identify victims of human trafficking we can use a much wider range of identifiers than have been available to government agencies up to now. As a result the system can Identify a victim by their face, scars, marks, or tattoos, full or partial, alive or dead.
The new version of f2 also automates image enrollment to external databases and detect new images added to them.
He relates how “Face Forensics’ predecessor company, Imagis Technologies was contracted by the UK National Crime Squad to develop a system to process images of child abuse on seized hard drives. It was the largest system of its kind in the world at the time and was launched at the House of Lords.”
The company is now seeing interest in its tattoo and facial recognition system from both federal agencies and local police departments.
“As Face Forensics is one of a very few developers of tattoo recognition we felt that by adding our corpse identification and partial face/image recognition capabilities we could offer something highly valuable and quite unique,” Drummond adds.
The f2 software works equally well with present subjects and online images, he says, but interest from law enforcement is primarily focused on “matching unknown offenders against criminal databases.”
The enhanced matching capability is offered as a stand-alone or networked application, as a .NET SDK, and a web service, the company says in an announcement.
The f2 Image Recognition Suite was updated with object recognition capabilities earlier this year.
Identifying deceased people from tattoos
The identification or dead people with tattoos, a field Face Forensics has helped pioneer, is leading to success in real-life investigations, meanwhile.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s (AZDPS) Forensic Images Unit (FIU) has used its upgraded facial recognition system to identify deceased individuals by their tattoos in two separate cases following requests from local police.
A person in the Phoenix area was a killed by a gunshot to the head, and could not be identified from face or fingerprint biometrics. The other victim was found by the Gila River Police Department after decomposition due to exposure to the elements.