Feeds

Skeletal scanner would ID terrorists from 50 meters

And maybe non-terrorists too

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.