iPhone-Based Facial Recognition Coming to a Police Department Near You

Josh WolfordIT Management

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Law enforcement officials are about to get some new technology that will help them quickly identify persons of interest while in the field.

The MORIS case from BI2 Technologies is an iPhone add-on that allows police officers to take a quick photo with the device's camera and cross-check criminal records databases to find a matching entry. And that's not all it does. According to the Wall Street Journal -

With the device, which attaches to an iPhone, an officer can snap a picture of a face from up to five feet away, or scan a person’s irises from up to six inches away, and do an immediate search to see if there is a match with a database of people with criminal records

The gadget also collects fingerprints. Until recently, this type of portable technology has mostly been limited to military uses, for instance to identify possible insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan.

As soon as September of this year, over 1,000 MORIS units are expected to arrive at over 40 different police organizations across the country.

They are about $3,000 a pop and will be available for Android OS in the future.

How will various police departments use the new MORIS device? Simply, identification. If officers arrest an individual for a crime, they can use the MORIS to quickly determine the suspect's actual I.D. and criminal history.

Or, if police want to identify someone who isn't carrying a valid photo I.D., viola!

Of course, this is bound to raise serious concerns about privacy and constitutional rights. Would the snapping of a photo for use on the MORIS constitute an illegal search if it was done without a warrant and without resonable suspicion? If not, how about the iris scan? Under what circumstances will officers be able to force compliance with that measure?

On the flip side, this tool could be wonderful for law-enforcement. Just imagine how many people are dishonest about their identity to police. What about wanted criminals who attempt to change their appearance to avoid capture? On site eye-scans would be a great tool in uncovering their deception.

Here's a video of the device in action -

What do you think about the new tech? Let us know in the comments.

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf