With this next generation of software, SiQuest introduces FaceDNATM, a sophisticated biometric facial recognition add-on (included at no additional cost) to their Internet Examiner Tookit. With FaceDNATM, investigators will have a new weapon in the fight against crimes against children, document forgery detection, and identifying wanted and missing persons. While IXTK has been known for its unrivaled unique features that support the discovery of Internet evidence and web-based artifacts, FaceDNATM opens up a whole new door of opportunity to improve forensic investigations.
John Bradley, Founder, CEO and Chief Technical Officer for SiQuest explains: “Up until now, no manufacturer of computer or mobile forensic software has ever introduced biometric facial recognition technology in their products. Some have attempted skin tone analysis but unfortunately with very limited success or adoption by end users. We are proud to be the first company to bring facial recognition into the digital forensic process and we have ensured that this new feature is priced within reach for all investigative stakeholders. With FaceDNATM, forensic practitioners will be able to identify, extract and match faces from pictures, movies, even live video sources. One match can make all the difference.”
Internet Examiner Toolkit is fast becoming the enterprise quality forensic tool of choice when it comes to examining Internet based artifacts, and multimedia evidence in particular. According to John Bradley, one of the primary reasons that drove SiQuest to introduce this new technology is the fact that more and more cases involving child pornography are simply not getting the full attention they deserve.
A TIME FOR CHANGE
He goes on to say that “Since my policing days, I know all too well how cases can start to pile up and how there is a constant pressure to get results and move onto the next case. Where I started to become concerned is when I learned that it is becoming customary to skim the surface in child pornography cases looking for only the minimal amount of evidence to lay a charge. If a plea bargain is accepted, the case never again sees the light of day. It’s not until a case is actually going to trial that the police will actually do a more thorough forensic examination. One thing is for certain is that defense lawyers are wising up very quickly to technology by hiring experts that leave no stones unturned. This approach of cutting corners, while understandable, is an unfortunate band aid solution to a bigger problem. It’s a practice that is eventually doomed to fail.
I most certainly do not blame law enforcement. I get it. I really do. I’ve been there. It’s the system that is taxed. There are simply too many cases, too much evidence to examine, and not enough investigators or the right tools to get the job done. This is why it’s important to continually find new ways to solve complex problems.”
In many child pornography type cases, picture and video evidence obtained through peer-to-peer file sharing programs are often used to substantiate the laying of charges. File sharing programs tend to present a treasure trove of evidence, with some fetching hundreds and even thousands of pictures and videos. Unfortunately, not all of it gets looked at. Traditional approaches to video analysis require investigators to sit in front of a computer and watch each and every video in real time. It is not surprising then how some cases could take months to finish. This is also why many pieces of evidence never get seen.
So what exactly is getting lost when multimedia evidence is not examined? Maybe there’s a child victim (or victims) of sexual assault amidst these videos and pictures. Maybe there’s a missing person hidden in a crowd. Or perhaps there’s a known child sex offender or wanted person sitting in plain sight. But if no one takes a look, then those abused or missing children will never get rescued, and those bad guys will never be identified.
IMAGE 1 – Sample photograph with FaceDNATM Tracking
Results of face extraction using FaceDNATM
While FaceDNATM helps find and extract faces, IXTK will allow investigators to build custom libraries of Face Profiles (e.g., victims, wanted persons, missing persons, etc). These profiles can then be used for comparison when searching hard drives and logical file systems for matches. But where this really gets exciting is SiQuest’s goal to match Face Profiles while using their “live” online Internet browser feature.
WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON NEXT
“Imagine that you’re looking for intelligence online in real-time, moving from website to website (e.g., social networking, news media). Now imagine having the ability to create your own custom library of ‘wanted faces’ (profiles) and being alerted to a match immediately while you’re still surfing? What if FaceDNATM libraries could be shared between agencies? Now that’s cool!“, says John.
A TRUE CASE EXAMPLE
John recalls “I had this one case years ago where a soccer coach was found to be in possession of a small number of explicit images on his computer. At the onset of the investigation, we only knew of one boy that had been victimized. After a long and thorough search of the other files (e.g., video files) we discovered that there were several other victims from the soccer team. Had we just settled on the plain view evidence, those boys might still be suffering today.”
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
By combining IXTK’s versatile “video frame extraction” feature with FaceDNATM, it is possible to find faces in a matter of minutes or seconds. From there it’s a click of a button to create a compelling visual report of all faces acquired. The amount of time an investigator could save is profound. The chances of finding the proverbial needle in a haystack is extremely high with biometric facial recognition. With a built-in video player and workflow features like Evidentiary Value Scoring, Photo Aspect Ratio analysis, Labels and Bookmarks, IXTK is a perfect tool for investigating multimedia and categorizing volumes of evidence.
SiQuest licenses the facial recognition technology at a premium from a world class leader specializing only in biometric facial recognition technology research and development.
“When looking for this type of solution, we didn’t want to settle for status quo or something gimmicky or half reliable.” Confident about the quality of the technology chosen, SiQuest’s Chief Technical Officer points out that “It’s not so much about who made the technology, but rather how good it is, and how it is put to use. There are many different opportunities (manufacturers from which) to license facial recognition technology. However, we’ve chosen among the very best the industry has to offer and we’ve made sure that FaceDNATM is affordable for our customers. This is why we’ve made sure that this added-value technology comes included as part of the regular purchase of IXTK, an investment that will pay dividends for the end user. More importantly, it will help in the rescue of victims and the identification of bad guys. That’s what it’s about. This potential is what I wanted to bring to our customers.”
FaceDNATM is included with every new purchase of IXTK or renewal of SMS by existing customers. There is no add-on fee of any kind. According to John, “We don’t want our customers to feel that we have our hands in their pocket everytime we add a new piece of functionality to our software. Some companies adjust (inflate) their SMS for each add-on and then continue to charge recurring licensing fees. We simply don’t do it. And, we won’t do it.”
ACADEMIC PARTNERS – WORLDWIDE
SiQuest now offers higher learning institutions the opportunity to incorporate Internet Examiner Toolkit into their program studies at no cost. Perpetual, non-expiring licensing and SMS is provided (except for a one-time purchase of a network dongle with support for up to 50 concurrent licenses). That’s right. No licensing or SMS costs, ever. It’s our way of giving back to the industry and helping train the next generation of forensic investigators.
We welcome investment opportunities to help us expand our offerings and join our quest to make a difference. Please inquire.