Id’ing Boston Marathon Bombers Nothing to do With Facial Recognition Technology

Jasmina Lozevska April 23, 2013 0

Beside the fact that this facial recognition technology could help in some crime scenes, sometime it can’t play the big role. If we take a look back at the Boston bombings we can see that it didn’t play a role into ID’ing the suspects for this bombing. Despite all the images which have put the suspect on the crime scene, this software couldn’t put their names on their faces.

This was reported by Edward Davis – the commissioner of Boston’s police. He said that the video and images from the surveillance cameras helped but the facial recognition technology didn’t do much into revealing the suspect’s identities. Tamerlan Tsarnaev (the elder brother from the two suspects) was killed by the police in a shootout. The other brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had a driver’s license in Massachusetts. The identities of these two brothers were revealed thanks to FBI’s investigation.

According to the interview for Washington Post, many experts spent a couple of days working their way through many hours of video and thousands images to make a timeline of events. The law enforcement used the easier way, using facial recognition feature software, which came up with no results. According to the agents who reviewed the segments, the work was mind-numbing and painstaking. They had to go through one same video segment over 400 times.


Since nothing came up from the technology, the police had to do something else. They used the old school method simply called – “cooperation with the citizens”, which led to identifying the suspect’s identities. The revealing of the images led to the suspects’ aunt calling the police and revealing their identities. Despite all the efforts to use a technology system into revealing these kinds of crime cases, San Jose PD told the news that using technology is not on their mind for now.

An engineering professor and computer scientist from the State University of Michigan, Anil Jain, said that she believes in near future all the law agencies will incorporate this technology method into their enforcement. She added that the period for adopting this system will be 5 years and by then, the facial-recognition technology will gain a significant place into investigations.

It’s expected that FBI will develop a greater facial-recognition technology system sometime next year for all the police agencies which are placed in Western US. This was reported by Ken Bischoff, a CEO of Western Identification Network.

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