As Seen on TV: NEC Provides Powerful Crime Solving Face Recognition Software to Law Enforcement

If you’re a fan of any of the detective shows available on television and streaming services, you’ve probably seen an episode or two where a crucial part of solving the fictional crime is using face-recognition software to identify potential suspects. It’s the digital version of an old-fashioned police lineup. The scenario usually involves detectives finding an old photo or obtaining some grainy security camera footage of a suspect. They turn it over to a colleague in a crime lab, where the photograph or video is quickly processed to identify the subject.

While it may not work exactly as seen in the movies or on a television crime drama, this type of digital matching technology is very real and in use today. With more people having camera equipped cell phones and individuals and business installing surveillance cameras, the amount of available video evidence that can be used to solve crimes has greatly increased. Not having the ability to leverage security video footage and photo evidence can be costly and time consuming for law enforcement departments with limited resources and heavy case loads.

NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems (ARS) group has a long history of providing the latest biometrics technology to government customers like our NeoFace® Reveal software, NEC’s high-speed matching facial recognition system. When it was independently evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NEC’s NeoFace® algorithm achieved the highest performance evaluation as the most accurate face recognition solution on the market for “one-to-many” video searching.

Watch the video to see how NEC’s ARS group worked with the City of Irving Police Department on a deployment of NEC’s NeoFace® Reveal facial recognition software, which has resulted in high success rates in providing fast, accurate suspect identification intelligence. It has led to increased public safety and decreases in departmental costs by saving detective man hours and reducing the need for added personnel.

Want to learn more about Advanced Recognition Solutions from NEC? Let us know and we would be happy to provide you with an overview from one of our subject matter experts.

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Eight Key Insights from AFIS 2017

Our annual AFIS Internet User Conference leads the way for law enforcement forensic professionals. This year’s highly anticipated event in Sacramento brought together professionals from around the globe, to share information and learn from the best of the best. This is as much a learning event for NEC as it is for our AFIS User Group. Together we explored issues affecting the law enforcement community today. Attendees learned more about new techniques in forensics, and experienced the latest in identification technology solutions, and glimpsed into the future of biometrics, innovations designed to make our lives easier and to meet the expanding security needs of our changing world.

I’d like to express my deep gratitude to the AFIS Internet Board, the organizers of this conference, and for the special efforts and leadership of the Sacramento Division of the California Department of Justice, our host agency.

It was difficult to choose, but here are my top eight insights from the many outstanding moments at AFIS Internet 2017:

  1. Pass it On The 3-day event was perfectly kicked off by keynote speaker, Jim Hyde, Co-Founder of Peer Support Central, as he brought timely insights into the need for our mentoring of the next generation of pros, and the importance of critical knowledge transfer to the new breed of law enforcement, the Millennial generation. Jim concluded with a moving personal experience of a First Responder being shot in the line of duty–when a seasoned police dispatcher knew to stay on the line, reach out, and to comfort and encourage him until help arrived. That “going above and beyond” the task at hand can make all the difference in the outcome; what a critical wisdom nugget to pass on to the next generation!
  1. Be Informed Marty Parker, FBI Agent, pulled back the curtain to reveal the real deal about child sex trafficking. Her informative session was riveting and heart breaking as she emphasized the power of a truly caring hug for these extremely tough kids, how critical it is to free them emotionally by convicting their captors, and the value of identification of juvenile prostitutes on the street, in hotels and casinos, and on internet locations.
  1. Share in Successes Actual NeoFace® Reveal use-case success stories were shared by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Visuals were shown of how facial recognition as a time-saving identification tool was used to help ID and facilitate the capture and conviction of a slippery career criminal who had long specialized in multiple identity thefts, forgery and mail fraud.
  1. Learn About Enhanced Security An update from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs Border Protection (CBP) on the use of biometrics at exit point operations helped us gain a clearer picture of security measures currently in place at our nation’s borders. With NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems and biometrics improvements for border security at strategic international airports, ports and border crossings, highly trafficked points of entry/ exit, it’s clear that facial recognition ID is our best “touch-less” safeguard, and also possible that our face will actually be our boarding pass in the future!

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  1. Get Professional Work Tips With multiple industry-specific sessions aimed directly at providing training for the forensics professional, there was a wide range of insider tips. For example: how to sharpen your courtroom testimony skills, best practice crime scene fingerprinting (on the living and deceased), how to best deal with applying for and managing federal grants, the use and importance of Mobile ID devices (for immediate on-scene fingerprint capture and ID—before the suspect disappears), as well as some expert Ten-Print help with creating and implementing the “Henry” classification formula. We even learned efficiency suggestions for supervisors of telecommuting teams of Latent Print Examiners.
  1. Look Into the Future NEC brought compelling Advanced Recognition System (ARS) presentations, international updates, and exciting views into the current and future place of biometrics in the arena of public safety and as part of our daily lives; simplifying our access, giving us ease of movement, protecting and serving those who protect and serve.
  1. Experience Cutting Edge Technology NEC showcased its latest identification technologies, including interactive, expertly guided 10-print workshops with hands-on experience with NEC’s Integra-ID iBW, the latest in fingerprint technology processing. NEC’s demo exhibits on NeoFace® Watch and NeoFace® Express showed how touch-free identification can actually help simplify public safety work, as well as increase location access security. The NeoFace® Reveal and SmartScan interface exhibits gave an up-close and personal encounter for many AFIS Internet members as they transition to facial recognition disciplines in addition to fingerprint and ten print identification work.
  1. Meet Others Like You One of the joys of an event like the AFIS Internet User Conference is the rare opportunity to socialize, network, and brainstorm with others who understand the intricacies of your unique universe; this means experts from technology innovators like NEC, together with a diverse gathering of like-minded crime-fighting professionals who daily face the same issues and challenges you do. Clearly the casually fun evenings were planned with that fraternity in mind!

The closing AFIS 2017 Awards Banquet was the crowning jewel. This was a time to recognize the newly elected AFIS Internet, Inc. Executive Board–made up entirely of working industry professionals, and to honor recipients of the AFIS Internet 2017 “Biometric Hit of the Year Award”: Faith Contreras (Facial Recognition Program Administrator and Law Enforcement Coordination Unit Supervisor for the Office of the Inspector General) together with Detective Keith Richerson of Arizona Department of Transportation were awarded for Facial Recognition use on an Identity theft/ forgery/ fraud case, and Sgt. Amanda Crooker of the Michigan State Police was honored for impressive (Latent/ Palm /Finger) Print hit success on a cold homicide case.

Congratulations to all, with our sincere gratitude for your service!

This year’s AFIS Internet Group Board did a fantastic job of bringing together relevant and important topics, with a roster of respected international experts who engaged and educated, but also inspired us.

If you missed AFIS 2017, we hope you’ll put it into your calendar now, to join us next August 26-29, 2018, in Reston, Virginia. Of course, meanwhile, you can check out or relive the excitement by viewing our photo gallery, or our AFIS 2017 Recap Video below.

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Left of Boom – Defeating the Threat Among Us

It’s no secret the world has become a much more dangerous and complicated place in the 21st century. Terrorism itself has evolved, and so has the way our federal government is combatting and defending against it.

What has become clear is that violent extremist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda have evolved to become influencers and master manipulators online and abroad. They’re not as focused on becoming an army of covert foot soldiers attempting to penetrate U.S. borders. The result of this is the evolution of the lone wolf attacker, a typically misguided and desperate soul who loses touch with reality and is somehow convinced or brainwashed into inflicting maximum damage through violence. We’ve seen this play out recently in the United Kingdom.

Since 2001, the United States has suffered over 40 lone-wolf terror attacks perpetrated by a diverse array of personality types. Although there is no single, universally accepted definition of a lone-wolf terror attack, academics generally define a lone wolf as a single attacker who plans and commits violent acts alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group.

The perpetrators of these terrible atrocities may be influenced by extreme political ideologies claiming religious motivations, or they may be disgruntled or mentally ill. In many cases, a combination of these factors are at play. The point is, profiles for these lone-wolf terrorists are consistently challenging to identify, which therefore makes prevention of individual attacks particularly difficult. The threat, needless to say, is even greater with those in positions of trust. Airport or airline employees and contractors with access to military installations with secure credentials are examples of individuals who are sometimes susceptible to these downfalls.

Since 2001, the U.S. has suffered over 40 lone-wolf terror attacks. #homelandsecurity Click To Tweet

Where lone wolves or any violent threats are concerned, the goal is to stay “left of boom.” Popularized in military circles during the months and years after 9/11, the phrase “left of boom” refers to the moments before an explosion or attack – a period when you still have time to prepare and avert a crisis. Right of boom, by contrast, includes the chaotic and deadly moments after the explosion or attack.

Law enforcement, public safety, and military officials associated with the people who perpetrate these terrorist acts. Research suggests early detection through preventative measures like situational awareness, monitoring Internet and social channels, and if needed, psychological screenings and interventions, are the best approaches to thwarting lone wolf attacks.

Individuals who carry out these attacks do follow a similar path from ideological influence to radicalization to violence. This path begins with a grievance that leads to moral outrage and anger projection, which leads to some sort of trigger point or justification for violence. At this point in the process, most people do not act.

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However, for the few who do act, either alone or in a group, the perpetrators tend to wade into an ideological end-state culminating in a terror attack. The fact that a process exists provides officials with some map to begin gathering information that might lead to prediction and prevention. Our public servants want to get left of boom in order to disrupt the chain of events that could lead to an attack.

At NEC, we’re passionate about the safety and security of all citizens. We are committed to providing solutions that assist our clients in identifying people, patterns, and predictions. For over 40 years, NEC Corporation has provided screening and background check information for purposes of law enforcement and applicant background checks. Our systems have cast the widest nets in identifying these individuals from searching local, state, FBI, DHS, Interpol and other biographic and biometrics databases.

NEC adheres to FBI, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and other industry standards for data exchange, as demonstrated by our customer install base. These deployments could allow law enforcement agencies to receive immediate notification of fault. Other random and frictionless screening with use of facial recognition may provide clues on relationships, associates and more. Such existing services can be augmented with publicly available biographic data including travel and purchase patterns to form the foundation of a collective dataset that would assist in analysis and identification of suspicious patterns leading to a prediction.

If we can look at an individual’s identity, patterns of life, and associations – among other data points – we can help our clients get closer to predicting and preventing lone-wolf attacks. We pride ourselves on being passionate problem solvers with an eye toward cutting-edge solutions that deliver precise and trusted results. If you’d like to hear more about our solutions and how we are solving the challenge of the threat among us, please contact us today.

People. Patterns. Predictions.
NEC Corporation of America’s Advanced Recognition Systems team is committed to developing and delivering public safety solutions that keep people safe.

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NEC SmartScan Propels Livescans Forward at IAI’s International Education Conference

In the world of biometrics and identity management, livescan technology is nothing new. First introduced in the early 1990s, the earliest livescans were used by law enforcement to electronically capture fingerprint and, later in the 2000s, palm print images. The primary uses case was for criminal bookings and for searching against the state and FBI’s criminal fingerprint database.

Fast-forward some 20 years, and, while there have been some advancements in the technology through the years, the software and user interface hasn’t changed all that much. NEC thinks now is the time for a renaissance in livescan technology.

This week at the International Association for Identification’s 101st International Education Conference in Cincinnati, NEC launched the next generation in livescan technology, called NEC SmartScan. You can read the details in our press release, but suffice it to say that SmartScan is designed to significantly enhance what had become an obsolete technology with an outdated user interface.

Why start a renaissance in livescan now?

For starters, rapid rotation of correctional officers leads to a constant need for training and a battle against poor quality finger and palm prints. We now have the ability to significantly enhance the user experience using the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. This allows us to leverage a more personalized look and ability for swipe, scroll, pinch and zoom and give the system a much more modern look and feel, leading to accelerated training and improved image quality capture.

Secondly, LiveScan reliability and service has been poor. Our remote managed services, coupled with the industry’s most talented and dedicated support personnel available 24×7, leads to higher uptime, better customer satisfaction and guaranteed service level agreement (SLA) performance. The bottom line is keeping this technology online and running smoothly is a major priority in today’s world.

Thirdly, the individual components of livescan have gotten faster, better and more secure. For example, NEC’s own NeoFace facial recognition technology, recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the world’s most accurate, will be used for operator logon and as a means to avoid duplicate data entry. Let’s leverage that in a world-class livescan!

NEC SmartScan

And finally, thanks to the introduction of various state and federal programs, the identity and biometrics industry has a host of new and exciting use cases for livescan technology. It’s not just state and local law enforcement that can use livescan these days. From state public safety departments to TSA Pre® to FBI background checks to the Department of Veteran Affairs enrollment, government agencies and departments are finding new uses for livescan. NEC plans to be there every step of the way.

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IAI International Education Conference

The IAI International Education Conference, held in August each year, offers a 5-day schedule loaded with educational presentations for forensic investigators and experts from across the country. Likewise, the IAI has an impressive exposition with more than 125 booths featuring the latest products and technologies for law enforcement.

This year in Cincinnati, NEC (booth 301) is demonstrating the new SmartScan product both in kiosk and desktop form factors. We’re also holding live demos in our booth’s presentation theater, where we’ll also be giving away T-Shirts and chocolate bars, so if you are there, please come by.

Live NEC SmartScan Demos (IAI Booth 301)
Tuesday, August 9 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, August 9 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 9 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 10 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, August 10 1:30 p.m.

NEC is always excited to be a part of this conference. As in previous years, we are a Diamond sponsor and the lead sponsor for the Opening Ceremony, breakfast and keynote. This year, we’re very lucky to have as our keynote speaker the Justice Network’s Dayle Hinman, host of “Body of Evidence: From the Case Files of Dayle Hinman.”

Additionally, yours truly (John Dowden) will participate in an expert panel at 8 a.m. Thursday, August 11, titled “Expanding the IAI to Focus on Digital Evidence.” I’m proud to be part of this panel and a technology company helping to shape the future of digital evidence collection.

Feel free to follow @NEC and @The_IAI on Twitter during the show, or you can also check out the hashtag #IAI2016.

 

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Law Enforcement with the Best ‘Toys’ Keep Us Safe

Cop dramas, comedies and buddy stories rule the airways. From the newest TV cop show Backstrom to Brooklyn 99, Criminal Minds to Law and Order: SVU, there is no shortage of shows, detectives, and characters to choose from. If you wanted to be a cop or detective, which character would you choose—a no-nonsense, straight-talking detective or someone with more of a quirky personality?

 

 

Regardless of your choice, one thing is certain – you want the latest and greatest technology available. How boring would an episode of CSI be without the great tech? The same holds true for our men and women patrolling our streets. Keeping us safe can only happen if they are equipped with the best tools for the job. NEC understands the critical nature of this need, which is one of the reasons we dedicate so much time and energy to developing strong tools for law enforcement, such as the new NeoScan 45™ mobile fingerprint collection device.

What Does NeoScan 45 Do?

Many different law enforcement agencies require rapid, positive identification while in the field.  Police officers need the ability to confirm identities during patrol stops and field arrests. Homeland security officers require the capability to verify and screen identities against a watch list while patrolling the borders.  These public safety officials need compact, fail-proof tools that are portable and easy to use in the field.

To meet these demands, NEC developed NeoScan 45, the thinnest and lightest Fingerprint Acquisition Profile (FAP) level 45 multi-fingerprint capture device available today. The device is .68 inches thin and weighs only 9 ounces. At approximately the same size as many cellphones, it is small and light enough to be used in one hand.  It can then be slipped into a pocket or clipped on the belt without being a distraction.

 

Equipped with a sensor that can capture single and dual, plain and roll fingerprint impressions, NeoScan 45 also has been successfully tested against the FBI Image Quality Specifications (IQS) Appendix F and Mobile ID FAP45 specifications. Larger fingerprint sensors with higher FAP levels, such as NeoScan 45, are more accurate, reduce sequence errors, and offer a higher rate of identification.

NeoScan 45 provides multiple benefits that enhance the ability of law enforcement professionals to do their jobs quickly, including the following.

Intuitive User Interface

The intuitive and easy-to-use interface helps reduce capture errors and wrong finger sequence captures.  The ease of use also makes skipping over missing or scarred fingerprints simple.  Easy-to-see indicators provide scanning prompts and confirmation while fingerprint images are validated as high quality by the built-in FBI NIST Fingerprint Image Quality (NFIQ) fingerprint image test prior to the green scan acceptance light.  NeoScan 45 offers a battery life that surpasses other comparable devices (minimum of 200 scans per day and 24 hours of standby time).

Streamlined Processing

ADD, NEW, and SCAN buttons help speed the process of scanning multiple individuals while in the field.  Also, the built-in magnetic card stripe reader allows rapid downloading of demographic data by swiping ID cards.  Unlike older fingerprint capture devices, the NeoScan 45 can work with Android® and Apple® iOS smart phones and tablets and is compatible with wireless protocols such as Bluetooth or WiFi networking.

Integrated Suite of Tools

In addition to the built-in support to provide immediate feedback on the quality of captured fingerprints, the unit can be easily configured to support multiple fingerprint capture profiles including simultaneous capture of two fingers (e.g. right index and middle fingers) or four fingers (right index and middle fingers followed by left index and middle fingers), or 10 individually rolled fingerprints.  NeoScan 45 also supports capture and storage of multiple fingerprint sets from different individuals that that can later be downloaded to a host tablet or smart device.

Once captured, the fingerprint images are quickly downloaded to a host computer to interface with most Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) solutions, including NEC’s Integra-ID® Multimodal Biometrics Identification Solution (MBIS), as well as NEC’s NeoFace® Smart ID and Smart LC applications.  These applications provide a multimodal solution for face, finger, latent and voice recognition.  Smart ID aids in field identification by using descriptive data entry as well as enabling the user to search or enroll captured biometrics and data.  Smart LC facilitates evidence and latent collection and also enables remote AFIS latent searches.

When in the field, law enforcement professionals do not have the luxury of time. Making the proper identification quickly and easily is important.  Whether it is serving warrants, securing the borders or making a routine traffic stop, quick, accurate identification is key.  With modern technology such as the NeoScan 45, a single person in the field using a device smaller than a paperback book can now do in real-time what once took a team of people days to complete. When seconds matter, it’s nice to know that law enforcement can be equipped with technology that is accurate, fast and mobile!