MorphoTrak, a U.S. subsidiary of Morpho (Safran), will offer vendor-independent training in face comparison, filling what the company describes as an acknowledged gap in the field of computer-aided face recognition and facial identification. Automated face recognition systems are common in both law enforcement and civil applications, yet facial matching software can only present the reviewer with potential matches. It is up to the human reviewer to decide whether two facial images belong to the same individual.

Dr. Nicole Spaun, former forensic examiner with the FBI’s digital evidence lab and biometrics program manager for the U.S. Army in Europe, now principal facial biometric expert for MorphoTrak, will lead the training in visual face comparison. Spaun said that training for human reviewers has not kept pace with the scope of facial images available from public and private sources. In addition, reviewers may be called upon to compare faces in different scenarios. One task is facial review, where the analyst uses multiple images from a face recognition system to match faces of the same person. Another scenario is facial identification, a forensic 1:1 comparison to be presented in court.

MorphoTrak’s Face Comparison training will follow guidelines established by the Facial Identification Scientific Working Group (FISWG), and will address facial review and facial identification. Attendees will learn about biometrics, facial anatomy, dermatology, image science and image processing, as well as relevant legal issues and presentation in court. These topics will be taught in a three- to five-day classroom course with exercises, but can be provided in a shorter overview.

Celeste Thomasson, president and CEO of MorphoTrak, stated, “We welcome Dr. Spaun’s contribution to MorphoTrak’s rapidly developing facial recognition offering, as well as her skill as a trainer in the techniques of face comparison. Dr. Spaun is a high-caliber forensic subject matter expert and has published numerous papers on manual comparison of people in images, developed a training program for forensic facial comparison, and served as the inaugural chair of the FISWG training and proficiency subcommittee. We are pleased to offer Dr. Spaun’s expertise to our customers, partners, and the public safety community.”

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