Are you or is a loved one being investigated for a crime as a result of forensic technology?
You may have heard of the Tom Cruise blockbuster Minority Report. The film is a fantasy future detective story where humanity has found a way to predict when someone is about to commit murder and prevent it.
The drama-mystery is full of highly futuristic-looking vehicles, gadgets, and computers.
I think we all sometimes wish we lived in a world where we felt sure we were catching the right suspects at the right time. However, as the movie shows, technology doesn’t always solve the problems.
We can’t yet predict when someone is about to commit a crime. However, would you believe we are on the cusp of some of these things?
- Fingerprints telling us what brand of condom a suspect used.
- Proof that a rape occurred with one hair.
- Identifying skeletal remains of children.
- Police able to identify anyone, and their rap sheet, in a crowd in real-time.
It might not be as exciting as catching a murderer before the act, but some of these technologies – if they turn out to be as accurate as they sound – could change the way police work is done all over the world.
The Future of Forensic Cutting-Edge Innovations
As with DNA technology, we also hope these technologies lead to the exonerations of innocent people, or at least fewer wrongful convictions.
Here are some of the most promising new forensic technologies:
Morphometrics means the measurement of body shapes. Recent breakthroughs have made it possible for scientists to reconstruct facial features using children’s skeletons, something that was previously thought to be nearly impossible.
Poor quality images of tattoos on surveillance cameras could be a significant source of recognition techniques. A new program, called TattooID, has used point comparison techniques to match these images in much the same way fingerprints are matched.
You and I have microscopic organisms living in colonies on our skin and hair.
Each person’s colonies are different from everyone else’s except when sex occurs. By studying the change in microbiomes present on a hair, scientists can very accurately prove when a sexual act has occurred between a particular man and woman.
In the future, thanks to new technology and the proteins and fats found in skin secretions, even a partial print can tell investigators loads about their suspect.
Investigators can determine whether someone is a vegetarian or not if he’s handled a condom and, if so, what brand, and even predict what he looks like through DNA profiling.
Facial Recognition Algorithm
For obvious reasons, this technology has the most people up in arms about privacy.
Facial recognition algorithms have become much more sophisticated. Animetrics has created a program that can render a 2D image into a 3D model in a second, which can then be analyzed by several facial recognition algorithms at once and matched against up to 1 million faces.
With the use of smartphones and the cloud, police (or anyone) could potentially scan a crowd and find a suspect in minutes.
Vehicle Systems Forensics
Think about all the times you have connected your smartphone to a car you didn’t own, much less the one you do own.
All of your contacts, calls, and SMS messages have potentially interfaced with this vehicle.
In addition, newer vehicles record things like car doors opening and closing, stops, speed, and distance.
All of this information can be mined by investigators to help them prove their case.
Portable Police Labs
Spectroscopy, handheld electronic sniffers, flashlight detectors, and near-infrared light scanners are here, already in use by the FBI. They will most certainly spread to other police departments across the country.
These devices bring police laboratory work right to the field and allow them to do things like:
- Determine if suspicious powder is explosive without having to destroy evidence with bleach.
- Identify drugs with a push of a button.
- Replace breathalyzers and identify impaired driving;
- Identify potential suspects on the scene.
- Quickly send and receive information, including identification of suspects right at the crime scene.
What Does This Mean for Your Privacy?
The fact that these forensic technologies are being used already means that your privacy and your rights can be abused more quickly than the laws can catch up with.
The thing to remember is to always exercise your right to remain silent, even if you know you are innocent. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney do the talking at the right time.
Finally, if you feel you have been falsely accused of a crime in Michigan, please call my office today. I’d be honored to help.
Let’s start fighting for your rights!