Facial recognition camera used to convict robber for first time

In a world-first case, biometric facial recognition software has been used to convict an armed robber, with a Chicago robber “matched” from CCTV footage to a mug shot and sentenced to 22 years in prison, according to the Chicago-Sun Times.

Pierre D Martin was sentenced this. “This case is a great example that these high-tech tools are helping to enhance identification and lead us to defendants that might otherwise evade capture,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement.

Sky News said that the case marked the first conviction obtained using NeoFace – face-recognition software purchased by the Chicago Police Department for $5.4m.

Engadget points out that the case has eerie echoes of the video game Watch Dogs – a cybercrime-heavy science fiction hit inspired in part by Chicago’s use of 22,000 face-recognition cameras. We Live Security recently took a look at the realism – or otherwise – of the video game’s world of all-seeing cameras and super-powered smartphone apps.

Martin was convicted of two robberies, according to Engadget’s report. In one, he was captured on video on Chicago’s Pink Line trains on February 9 2013, pulling a gun and demanding the cell phone of a man listening to music on headphones.

Martin had earlier robbed a man at the same station. He was also a convicted felon, according to the Sun-Times.

The software used to “match” Martin’s image to a database of several million police mugshots was made by NEC, according to Silicon Republic’s report. The software has also been bought by other police departments, and by businesses wishing to keep track of customers via CCTV, the site reported.

The conviction marks a landmark for biometrics.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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