Facial Recognition Tech Used in Effort to Thwart Killer’s Passport Fraud

Law Enforcement BiometricsFacial recognition technology was used to aid law enforcement authorities in tracking down convicted murderer Phillip John Smith, according to an article by Paloma Migone on Radio New Zealand’s website. The biometric technology was used to determine the extent of the individual’s passport fraud.

It appears that despite his conviction, Smith was able to fraudulently obtain a passport under his birth name, Phillip Traynor, and used it to escape to Brazil while on a temporary leave from prison. New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs then check to see if any passports had been issued under his usual name, Phillip John Smith, or under his pseudonym Stacey Beavers; after that, they used facial recognition software to make sure no other passports had been issued to him (and none had). This subsequently led to the cancelation of the fraudulent passport, and Smith’s return to prison in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs apparently uses facial recognition software on a routine basis when reviewing passport applications, and that’s no surprise; law enforcement authorities around the world have demonstrated keen interest in these kinds of applications of facial recognition technology, and in the US federal authorities have actively encouraged partnership with biometrics developers to help advance the technology of their arsenals.  And as the worldwide ascent of biometric passports continues, this particular kind of fraud will become all the more easy to detect and prevent.
January 23, 2015 – by Alex Perala