An iPhone App That Catches Crooks By Looking Them In the Eye

Police in the Brockton, Massachusetts gang unit are getting a shiny new toy to tackle crime with: a facial recognition system called MORIS that uses an iPhone to identify suspects in the field. I guess it beats being dragged downtown.


Here's how the system, developed by BI2 Technologies, works: an officer uses an iPhone to snap the picture of a person of interest, which is then sent back and compared against a database of nogoodniks that the state is currently compiling. There's also an iris identification feature in the works, wherein a close-up shot of the suspect's eye is sent back to central command for reference, along with a fingerprint reader.

The official word is that the system will only be used when there's probable cause, although I'm sure exactly when and where it can be used and how the database is maintained will be the subject of some debate upon implementation. I just can't wait for the commercialized version. Blind dates will never be the same again! [Patriot Ledger via Fark]


steven [gawker help]

Although I think this is really cool and useful, iPhones are easy to lose (as we've seen in the past). One getting in the wrong hands means access to a very large database of personal and confidential information. I'm sure remote-locking and remote-wiping precautions will be taken but that's only useful if it occurs before any menacing individuals have a chance to extract information.

I think a wiser precaution would be for the app to send that info to the laptop inside the squad car, which in turn does all the dirty work and spits back relevant information to the iPhone, without any sensitive material being stored on the iPhone itself. At least squad car laptops are more secure and less prone to theft or tampering.