Police departments nationwide are starting to use the smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System (MORIS) which is an iris and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and can help identify criminal suspects.
This technology is capable of improving speed and accuracy in some routine police work in the field. An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person’s eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it takes to identify a suspect in custody. This technique also is significantly more accurate than results from other fingerprinting technology long in use by police, the maker, BI2 says.
When attached to an iPhone, MORIS can photograph a person’s face and run the image through software that hunts for a match in a BI2-managed database of U.S. criminal records. Each unit costs about $3,000.
Sean Mullin, BI2’s CEO, says it is difficult, if not impossible, to covertly photograph someone and obtain a clear, usable image without that person knowing about it, because the MORIS should be used close up. So, police randomly scanning the population shoulder be a concern.
Experts also say that before police administer an iris scan, they should have probable cause a crime has been committed.
The technology is also employed to maintain security at Plymouth’s 1,650 inmate jail, where it is used to prevent the wrong prisoner from being released, since most inmates look alike in the orange jumpsuits.
Facial recognition technology is not without its problems, however. For example, some U.S. individuals mistakenly have had their driver’s license revoked as a potential fraud. The problem, it turns out, is that they look like another driver and so the technology mistakenly flags them as having fake identification.
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