Technology

Fugitive juggler caught by facial-recognition technology

FBI wanted poster Image copyright fbi
Image caption The FBI managed to get its man, 14 years after he fled the US state of New Mexico

A US juggler facing child sex abuse charges, who jumped bail 14 years ago, has been arrested in Nepal, after the use of facial-recognition technology.

Street performer Neil Stammer travelled to Nepal eight years ago using a fake passport under the name Kevin Hodges.

New facial-recognition software matched his passport picture with a wanted poster the FBI released in January.

Mr Stammer, who had owned magic shop in New Mexico, has now been returned to the US state to face trial.

The Diplomatic Security Service, which protects US embassies and checks the validity of US visas and passports, had been using FBI wanted posters to test the facial-recognition software, designed to uncover passport fraud.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Fingerprints are already stored, but much more biometric data will soon be available to authorities

Deputy assistant secretary for domestic operations Barry Moore said: "With over 100 specially trained passport and visa fraud investigators in more than 65 countries around the world, Diplomatic Security works with our international and federal law enforcement partners to bring fugitives like Stammer home to face justice."

The FBI has been developing its own facial-recognition database as part of the bureau's Next Generation Identification (NGI) programme.

As well as facial-recognition images, the database will store fingerprints, iris scans and palm prints.

Civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is concerned about its use of data from people with no criminal convictions, said the database contained 16 million images in 2013 and had the capability to contain as many as 52 million by 2015.

The FBI said the database would reduce crime and terrorism.

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