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Police use iPhone to identify people with a criminal record

Police use iPhone to identify people with a criminal record

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if you want to catch a criminal, there's an app for it too. The Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS for short, is a smartphone attachment that will be used by some police departments across the country in a few months.

It seems, there's an app for everything these days. There's no surprise that if you want to catch a criminal, there's an app for it too. The Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS for short, is a smartphone attachment that will be used by some police departments across the country in a few months, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The gadget works by snapping a photo of a face from five-feet away or scanning a person's irises, so the person's face can be matched against a database of people with criminal records. The device can also collect fingerprints. The attachment to the iPhone costs $3,000.

Privacy groups are already getting worried about the use of this technology in law enforcement.

The gadget is made by Biometric Intelligence and Identification Technologies. The company will give 1,0000 devices to 40 law enforcement agencies, according to Forbes. The biometric hand-held device is based on the iPhone and it can be used to identify iris, face and fingerprint - allowing police officers to identify any offenders that have been enrolled in the local or national database, within seconds.

It can ID sex offenders, illegal immigrants, gang members, individuals with outstanding warrants as well as parolees and probationers. The use of biometrics goes beyond law enforcement.

According to a Big Think blog:

The same technology that makes it possible to spot an Al Qaeda insurgent in Afghanistan or nab a suspected terrorist in New York City also makes it possible to nab an undocumented migrant worker in El Paso or Laredo. And therein lies the problem.

The fact that biometrics is hand-held is game changing. The U.S. is using biometrics to identify people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to the New York Times:

“You can present a fake identification card,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert Haemmerle of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435. “You can shave your beard off. But you can’t change your biometrics.” The task force conducts detention, judicial and biometrics operations — responsibilities that will be turned over to the Afghan government.

The Defense Department is spending $3.5 billion on biometrics programs from 2007 to 2015, the Times also reports.

So what do you think about facial profiling? Will it create tension the same way TSA pat-down drama has in the past?

"The demand for biometric technologies has increased significantly following the events of 9/11," BI2 Technologies said.

via How a New Police Tool for Face Recognition Works [The Wall Street Journal]

Photo: Screen Shot from BI2 Technologies

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure