Individual Project 4 Facial Recognition Technology.

The governor will be visiting town for a major upcoming sporting event. Under such a situation, one of the major responsibilities of the authorities will be the governors security. This security can potentially be aided by using software such as facial recognition technology within the local stadium.
    In order to see how this would work, the objective of this paper will be to give a security vulnerability assessment in using this software. It will give an overview of the facial recognition technology, followed by how it has been used in the past and whether it was successful. Finally, the paper will study whether it can be used to aid traditional security measures and how these security measures can then be used in the sporting scenario.

Facial Recognition Technology

Overview of the Facial Recognition Technology
    Facial recognition systems are computer software that, by design, detect people in an uncontrolled environment. Researchers started studying such systems in the mid 1960s (Tech FAQ, 2009).  These systems work by using several facial features or nodal points in a persons image such as distance between the eyes, jaw line length, cheekbone shapes and many others to arrive at a persons numerical face print and matching this with images or face prints that already exist in the database (Bosnor  Johnson, 2001). It is used as security measures or as an enhancement to them.
    To be more specific, these systems were two dimensional facial recognition systems. The problem of this type of system was that accuracte identification was tricky and hard to achieve. For example, people facing cameras equipped with such software had to be facing at an angle of no less than 35 degrees (Tech FAQ, 2009). Differences in light orientation and facial expressions in an uncontrolled environment also contributed to low accuracy in recognition of such systems (Bosnor  Johnson, 2001).
    As a solution to these problems, a three dimensional system was developed. This system intercepts a real time three dimensional image of a persons face and for recognition uses different features of the face that are unique and dont alter with time (Bosnor  Johnson, 2001).

Past Usage and Success Rate
    In TV shows such as Las Vegas and movies such as Twenty One, face recognition software has been used in casinos to detect counters or thieves. These faces are then matched with those in a database and if a match is found, these offenders are taken out (Bonsor  Johnson, 2001).
    In reality, also, this software is used to detect delinquents and enhance security measures. In 2001, it was employed by the Tampa Police Department. Their police cameras had the facial recognition technology installed in them for the Ybor City Nightlife district, in an attempt to decrease crime rate. However, the cameras and the technology proved to be very ineffectual because people would come wearing masks and would carry out such actions due to which it became impossible for the cameras to detect anyone. It was finally removed in 2003 because it proved to be a failure (Bonsor  Johnson, 2001).
    Moreover, the Mexican government used this system in their 2000 presidential elections to match their voters from their database to authenticate their identities and reduce voter fraud (Tech FAQ, 2009).
Another area where this technology was used, but not successfully, was at the Bostons Logan airport. It was used as a test at the airport security checkpoints and failed miserably when it showed an inaccuracy rate of 38.6 percent (Bonsor  Johnson, 2001).
    The reasons why it failed because it failed to capture images properly because of things like variations in light, hair obstructing the face, images captured in an environment that was not controlled, and many others. As a result, a 3D model of the technology was developed which showed more accuracy. Therefore, owing to improvements in technology and reductions in costs, the technology is now used successfully in banks, airports, immigration points, voting points and other law enforcement and governmental projects. Potential uses are in ATM machines where face will be detected to ensure safe transactions from the owners card (Bonsor  Johnson, 2001). Steps involved in recognition include detection, alignment, measurement, representation, matching and verification (Bonsor  Johnson, 2001).

Facial Recognition Technology as a Potential Security Aid at the Sporting Event
    At a large event, such as the sporting event under discussion, the environment is such for which facial recognition systems were first designed  uncontrolled and crowded. The first time the facial recognition software was used at Tampa was for security purposes  to bring crimes levels down. Since then, its use has been recommended as an investigation tool after terrorist attacks (Colatosti, 2001).
Therefore, when the governor attends the event, there is always a possible threat of an attack. For such a purpose, a facial recognition system will be ideal if used with other traditional security measures such as check at security check posts, use of metal detectors, and others. If used alone, however, there is no guarantee of its effectiveness. Past usage of the technology never shows 100 percent accurate results.
It will also be unrealistic to expect accurate results in scanning a stadium where there will be thousands of moving people, under different lighting conditions and in challenging environments with no ability to use choke-point mechanisms such as turnstiles. (Colatosti, 2001). It will also be difficult to detect one persons head from a mob of moving heads. There must be some segregation mechanism and environmental factors such as lighting and weather conditions will have to be controlled (Colatosti, 2001). In a stadium, this will be nearly impossible.
In conclusion, facial recognition systems could be used as a security measure at this sporting event, but in combination with other traditional security measures. It cannot be depended on alone for effective security and must therefore be used with other measures and that too, as a precautionary measure.


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