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Big Brother Goes Digital

8 November 2000

CANADA and LAS VEGAS – Nov. 8, 2000 – As reported by the Toronto Star -- Attention all casino card sharks - you may be swimming in dangerous waters.

A growing number of North American gambling operations, including Gateway Casinos Inc. of Vancouver and the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, are turning to facial recognition software to fish out criminal activity at their blackjack and roulette tables.

Using a combination of strategically-placed surveillance cameras and special biometric software that matches faces against a database full of ``bad customer'' photos, the idea is to identify regular perpetrators of fraudulent behaviour before a crime can take place.

``…It's all possible using technology from Imagis Technologies Inc., a small Vancouver-based company that started out building satellite imaging software that identified mountains rather than moles.

``We wait until there's a good image, then the software takes a shot. Once you've taken a good shot, which means broadly frontal, we run a process that looks at the central areas of the face,'' explains Iain Drummond, chief executive officer of Imagis.

``…Glasses, wigs and makeup can't fool the software - every person being analyzed has a facial pattern that represents a permanent and unique signature…"

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