Facial recognition falls short in Boston bombing investigation

May 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Technology similar to what's used by Facebook to tag photos is now being used by law enforcement to catch suspects. 7 On Your Side first brought you this story 18 months ago.

Facial recognition was used in the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing, but this time it didn't work. Now those in the security industry want to know why.

When the FBI released video of the suspects in the Boston bombing, the FBI deployed facial recognition technology in an attempt to identify the suspects.

Even though photos of the suspects were in an FBI database, the system failed to come up with a match. Marios Savvides, an expert at the Carnegie Mellon CyLab Biometrics Center, explains why.

"One of the toughest problems is low resolution. When you look at images collected from standard CCTV footage, the faces are way too small," said Savvides.

There could be a solution on the horizon. Researchers one day hope to take flat photographs and enhance them into 3D images to give us a glimpse of a person from all angles. The FBI is spending $1 billion to install its recognition software on security camera throughout the United States.


Load Comments