Individuals hidden in the witness protection program are not as safe as they believe they are when criminal organizations employ the same facial recognition software platforms utilized by law enforcement agencies tasked with convicting them. This fact appeared in a report that analyzed the threat to witnesses who are enrolled in witness protection programs after they testify in court, and the organizations that they testified against sought to locate them.
Criminals seeking retribution from witnesses pair facial recognition software technology with social media and social networking resources, and look for:
(1) Hidden witnesses' prior social media postings, or the appearance of their images in postings, especially where their targets names are tagged (inserted) by others on their facebook pages.
(2) New postings, under the witness' aliases, on social media, can be found by facial recognition software programs matching up the witness' original known images, with the new ones showing their aliases and current location.
Given the fact that the urge to make social media connections is so strong in Western society, the fact is that some witnesses will disregard any instructions from the US Marshals Service, and publish new entries on Facebook or elsewhere, trying to make social contact, not realizing the danger they invite. Could you live totally social media free?
We cannot expect witnesses hidden in new surroundings to exist solo, in their unfamiliar new location, and many of them have self-discipline issues, which got them in trouble in the first place, and where they acquired information about criminal conduct, due to their participation. They are not going to live like monks in a monastery, and some will be located by criminal elements and liquidated.
If you are using facial recognition software for civil or criminal investigations, it could be useful to know all the other possible applications of the platform, for it may also be used against you, or your clients.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant