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RE: UK police chase crooks on CCTV

> Tim Griffiths[SMTP:[email protected]] forwarded (yet
> another) report on the Mandrake facial recognition system, this time
> from  http://search.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/searches/mainsrch.htm#ap

> CCTV's developer, Software and Systems International, says 
> the system is accurate enough to discern people hiding 
> behind make-up or eye glasses. And growing a beard won't
> help either, the company says.


According to SSI at  http://www.ssi-ltd.co.uk/latenews.htm#Law  the
program uses the position of facial features to recognise you.  

> Even if offenders try to disguise their appearance,
>  say S&SI, the system will still identify them, as it is
>  based on recognising facial structure, such as the
>  spacing between the eyes, nose and mouth. It takes 
> into account, and disregards, variations of head 
> orientation, lighting conditions, skin colour, 
> make-up, facial expression, facial hair, spectacles
>  and ageing. 

So presumably can be confused by obscuring the exact postion of features
- such as a dense  moustache that covers the mouth, or the presence or
absence of  a hairstyle that seems to change the shape of the head.  I
shave my head - if I grew back some "big hair", or wore a wig, would the
sytem be able to tell where the top of my skull was?  Maybe a full beard
would change the apparent width of the whole head. Maybe dark glasses
would obscure the exact position of the eyes.

As we all know criminals are too stupid to use strong cryptography
without an export license, there is no way any of them would think of
novel high-tech solutions such as wearing a hat or a scarf.

Just to add some irony, the main  line used to sell this to the British
public is control of football (soccer) "hooligans". Like  child
pornography or the "war on drugs", football  fans are easy target for
repressive measures. No respectable citizen wants to be associated with
the "trouble makers". And of course, football fans are notorious for not
wearing scarves or hats, aren't they :-)

Ken Brown (& not his bosses)