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Law Enforcement Can Identify Suspects From Reflections in Your Eye

Jan 5 2014 - 8:13am

We're happy to present this article from our partners at ReadWrite [1].

Identifying suspects from reflections in the eye is not just fodder for police drama. It's reality, says a new study led by researchers from the University of York and University of Glasgow. The report, "Identifiable Images of Bystanders Extracted From Corneal Reflections," [2] reveals how investigators can glean recognizable reflections from witnesses' eyes.

The scientists positioned a group of eight people in front of "bystanders" and, using a 30-megapixel digital camera, photographed the latter's faces in high resolution. By zooming in on the eyes, they managed to extract facial images that — though fuzzy or highly pixelated — were still identifiable.

Although the experiment was conducted in a controlled setting, corneal reflections can have a major impact for law enforcement out in the field, particularly since mobile devices are quickly becoming high-quality cameras [3]. During criminal investigations, smartphones and cameras are often seized as evidence. After the bombing of the Boston Marathon in April, footage from bystanders and security cameras [4] played a key role in identifying the suspects.


— Selena Larson

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Source: PLOS One [10]

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