Cops could soon be using iPhones armed with facial recognition software
Get ready, because you may feel very uncomfortable in a few months when police officers are issued heavily-modified iPhones that are equipped with facial recognition, fingerprint scanners, and -- get this -- iris recognition. The phones, which should cost about US $3,000, would be used to allow for positive identification in the field, as opposed to hauling suspects all the way down to the station to verify their identity and arrest record.
The system is called MORIS (Mobile Offender Recognition and Identification System), and it's being developed by B12 Technologies for cops in Massachusetts; it's starting small in Brockton and slated to be statewide sometime soon. It may be confined to one state for the time being, but it's just flashy enough to be the sort of thing that ends up getting adopted by every major police force across the country that has the funding to spare.
When you watch the video, you'll notice that the Brockton Chief of Police puts heavy emphasis on how this technology won't be abused, in any way, by officers out on the street. He says that it's meant to be used only when somebody has "done something wrong," and there is probable cause to use the tech. The problem, as I see it, is that "probable cause" can mean (literally) anything, depending on the situation. It's really only a matter of time before gaggles of ego-tripping rookies begin stopping people for little to no reason and giving them the Minority Report treatment with their brick-sized iPhones.