Iris Scans More Common To Identify Missing Persons


A growing number of sheriff’s departments are using iris scans to identify sex offenders, runaways, abducted children, and wandering Alzheimer’s patients, says USA Today. More than 2,100 departments in 27 states are taking digital pictures of eyes and storing the information in databases that can be searched later to identify a missing person or someone who uses a fake name, says Sean Mullin of BI{+2} Technologies, which sells the devices.

At least 10 metro areas are doing scans of criminals to identify them should another crime occur or to be sure the right inmate is released. “This is the wave of the future. This will become as common as fingerprinting,” says Sheriff Greg Solano of Santa Fe County, N.M. Last month, his department began scanning the irises of convicted sex offenders. He says the level of detail and central database can make matches within seconds, compared with weeks for fingerprints and months for DNA. Mullin says the laptop, camera, and software cost $10,000. The cameras use harmless infrared light to record the iris’ minute ridges and valleys. They can detect 235 unique details and differentiate between right and left eyes and those of identical twins. A fingerprint has about 70 details.


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