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Technology Article
(for *surface magazine)

*surface Magazine

Writing Sample

Super-villains with false identities beware! Facial Recognition Systems–computer systems capable of recognizing that you are really you and not somebody else–are making their way into the mainstream. Polaroid’s Local Feature Analysis (LFA) is capable of devising a "face print" from any standard photograph that clearly identifies the unique characteristics of that face. This map of facial features is turned into a complex mathematical formula that can then be compared against a live photograph for verification, in the same way that fingerprints are used today. It even defies changes in lighting, skin tones, eyeglasses, facial expressions, and hairstyles. Face prints will make it almost impossible to obtain multiple forms of identification under assumed names. Polaroid’s LFA has spawned from research in biometrics, a field that studies biological behavior statistically. The system is meant to be the next-generation in security, for use in government and business centers with sensitive information. Biometric technology has been used previously by the Mexican government to issue secure identification voting cards, helping to prevent corruption and fraud. In the future, your face could be essential to replacing computer passwords, house keys, and even credit cards. Just say cheese, and your face print will verify who you are. West Virginia has already begun using LFA to issue new driver’s licenses, making it harder to drink underage and buy cigarettes. Not surprisingly, there is no word that lines at the DMV are moving any faster.


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