An Evaluation of Forensic Facial Recognition

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Recent advances in machine learning and computer vision have led to reported facial recognition accuracies surpassing human performance. We question if these systems will translate to real-world forensic scenarios in which a potentially low-resolution, low-quality, partially-occluded image is compared against a standard facial database. We describe the construction of a large-scale synthetic facial dataset along with a controlled facial forensic lineup, the combination of which allows for a controlled evaluation of facial recognition under a range of real-world conditions. Using this synthetic dataset, and a popular dataset of real faces, we evaluate the accuracy of two popular neural-based recognition systems. We find that previously reported face recognition accuracies of more than 95% drop to as low as 65% in this more challenging forensic scenario.

Justin D. Norman
Justin D. Norman
PhD Student | ML/AI Consultant