Smart cameras and facial recognition could assist in identifying Capitol protesters

The images from Wednesday's chaos in the Capitol are disturbing. Videos captured from cell phones, news crews and government security cameras are thoroughly being viewed to identify those involved. Based on the amount of visual evidence, investigators have a lot to work with and technology is on their side.

U of H Information and Logistics Technology professor Chris Bronk says it's practically impossible to walk the streets of Washington, D.C. and enter a government building without being captured on a security camera.

"There's a strong technical capacity to not only capture images of people, but also to identify them," Bronk said.

Over the years, cameras have become a lot smarter. Security camera expert Luc Swimberghe says the ones used in high-level security systems are able to identify and categorize individuals based on clothing, accessories, or weapons in hand, but that's not all.

"Length of a beard, a tattoo -- something that would be unique to that individual," Swimberghe added.

Once those identifying images are captured on camera, they're fed through a database.

"And through there, they may have a farm of servers that are cross-referencing those images," Swimberghe said.

Facial recognition aside, there's another article of evidence that law enforcement will be looking into.

"Anyone who carried a cellphone into the Capitol yesterday essentially carried with them the means for their own conviction. The geo locations on the phone obviously are one piece of the puzzle," Bronk said.
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