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U.S. law enforcement adopting new smartphone criminal recognition tech

eyescan via Bi2 technologiesU.S. law enforcement agencies are planning on implementing a new mobile gadget that will be used to identify criminals. The new technology will snap onto the back of a smartphone and be able to search records based on a scan of a suspects’ face or eyes.

The accessory is called MORIS, an acronym which stands for Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System. Officers use the special camera on MORIS and take a picture of a person’s iris from 5 to 6 inches away. The system then analyzes unique features in the iris and uses that data to find a possible match in the criminal database.

For facial recognition, officers will be able to snap pictures from a farther range of up to 5 feet away. The system uses around 130 distinguishing features to find a facial match within the database. The new MORIS system streamlines the process of identification compared to current methods. At the moment, law enforcement has to first take pictures with digital cameras, download those pictures to laptops and then run searches using facial-recognition technologies. MORIS also comes with a small metallic rectangle in order to scan for fingerprints.

The device is manufactured by a company called BI2 Technologies based in Plymouth, Mass. This 11-person company founded in 2006 in part by Peter Flynn a former sheriff. The devices, which include the attached iPhones, will be each be sold for $3000 . According to Forbes, BI2 has agreed to pump out 1,000 of these identification gadgets to approximately 40 agencies.

However, law enforcement has yet to determine the proper guidelines for using these mobile recognition devices, which may raise some privacy concerns. Officers currently have a policy to ask for permission when taking photos used in facial-recognition technology but legally they don’t need consent according to Scott McCallum, a systems analyst for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

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