Eyes, Now Telling More Secrets

by Joseph Raczynski

-Iris scan identity verification now being dispatched


Ethan Hunt clad in black slips through the skylight’s slight gap and drops forty feet down on a line in the shadow of night.  Pouncing upon his suspect as he sleeps, Hunt pulls out the iris scanner and captures the eye image of the criminal as he awakes.  From that single image, every known felonious detail of the perpetrator is immediately available.  Ethan has confirmed his man instantaneously.  This was a scene from the futuristic movie Mission Impossible where Tom Cruise plays an operative seeking crooks in the underworld.


Outside of Hollywood, this form of rapid identification in the field was a stretch, until recently.  Yes, the iPhone has brought this recognition technology to the masses.  Law enforcement agencies are set to begin using this technology in the near future.  One version of the smartphone scanner, named MORIS (Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System), is produced by a Massachusetts based company BI2 Technologies.  Professionals in the field or at the booking station can operate it easily, and they claim it is more accurate than fingerprinting or facial recognition.


As fraud and identity theft gain sophistication, iris scans will help verify individuals better than using license ID’s or social security numbers.  Utilized in prison, accessing secure rooms, and soon to start cars and access your own computer or network, scanning may become universal.  For the time being, it takes hold in the law enforcement arena with some 40 police departments adopting MORIS next month.  With this tool, an officer will be able to jump out of their squad car, approach an individual, and hypothetically use their modified iPhone to run an iris scan, send the data back and see if the questionable character has a history with the law.


While some voice concerns over iris scans, the technology is recognized as one reliable means of determining an individual’s identity, provided the original scan was mapped with the right person.