Feeds

Skeletal scanner would ID terrorists from 50 meters

And maybe non-terrorists too

The essential guide to IT transformation

Scientists are developing an identity verification system that would spot terrorists and pedophiles by scanning their skeletal features and comparing them against a database of stored images.

The system could be deployed in airports, sporting events, and other settings vulnerable to criminals and ideally will be able to positively identify an individual's unique skeletal structure from 50 meters, the researchers, from Wright State Research Institute, said here. It would analyze a variety of skeletal attributes – including shape, density joint structure and previously broken bones – to identify the individual.

Officials from the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity invited the researchers to speak about the project at a conference in Washington, DC.

Using fingerprints to identify someone can be problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the ease at which a person's unique image can be appropriated by others. Facial recognition has begun to catch on in some places, but that technology can be easily thwarted using masks, beards and other disguises.

“But they can't disguise their bones,” said Phani Kidambi, one of half a dozen scientists and engineers working on the project. “Think about a scenario where the face doesn't match, but the bones match. That definitely is a person of extreme interest because it appears he's tried to change his face.”

Of course, the ability to identify individuals from great distances has some spooky implications for privacy. The specter that scanners will be deployed at political demonstrations, outside medical clinics, or similar places will no doubt arouse concern among civil libertarians. It might also give way to a whole new industry of tin-foil lined clothes. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.