Related Cases / FOIA
Using Facial-Recognition Technology to Track Down the Boston Bombers (and Why Humans Are Still Better at It)
Current facial-recognition technology has its limits: As the FBI puts it in a staff paper posted on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy watchdog group: “The performance of facial matching systems is highly dependent upon the quality of images enrolled in the system.” Thus, the grainy surveillance imagery from Boylston Street might have proven particularly tough to work with. It’s likely that the breakthroughs in the case were made by sharp-eyed investigators: spotting one of the suspects dropping a bag at the site of one of the two bombings in the surveillance footage, then matching the face with an image from the security camera of the 7-Eleven in Cambridge that was allegedly robbed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last night. The robbery, and the match, triggered the wild, rolling shootout and manhunt that continues today.