NYPD’s New Facial Recognition Unit

March 25, 2013 | Andy Cush

The NYPD has created a new facial recognition unit, which specializes in identifying subjects using photographs, according to a DNAinfo report. Established late last year, the eight-officer unit uses software to scan for faces in Facebook, Instagram, and surveillance camera images, then match them against the mugshots of known criminals. Thankfully, a facial match doesn’t legally constitute probably cause to make an arrest, but it may lead officers to further an investigation.

Officers pointed to three cases in which the new unit helped make an arrest–two in which surveillance camera footage was used to match a face to a mugshot, and another in which a suspect was identified via Facebook. Yet another reason to double-check the privacy settings on your account.

(Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr)