Frequently Asked Questions

The term “lights-out” means a facial recognition non-human process or workflow which is completely automated.
Facial image comparison describes the manual process of evaluating similarities and dissimilarities between (a.) two (or more) facial images. or (b.) facial image(s) and a subject for the purpose of determining if they represent the same person or a different person.
No, there are several types of facial image comparison processes:

● Facial Assessment generally involves a superficial, often rapid, one-to-one comparison process of a facial image to a live subject for the purpose of identity verification (e.g., border crossing or police traffic stop).

● Facial Review involves a more complex comparison process conducted between an image and a subject or between sets of images.

● Facial Examination is the formal, systematic process (e.g., Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation - Verification [ACE-V]) by which two or more face images are compared. This may be an intensive process that can reach the level of a forensic analysis.

Automated facial recognition technology relies on a computer-generated candidate list which may not recognize details humans can perceive (e.g., changes in pose, expression, age, etc.), leading to images of the same person scoring weakly or different people scoring strongly. A human is therefore necessary to make the comparison of the images and come to a decision.
Comparisons are conducted based on the quality and quantity of details in the image(s) provided. In many cases there is not enough detailed visual information to make a definitive conclusion.
Depending on the quality of the image(s), the type of the comparison, agency procedures, and experience of the individual, the time required ranges from minutes to hours.
The Facial Identification Scientific Working Group (FISWG) recommends Morphological Analysis as the primary method for facial review and examination. Morphological Analysis is an intensive, systematic process of image comparison in which the features of the face are described and compared, and conclusions regarding similarity or difference are based on subjective observations and evaluations. For more information on the Morphological Analysis see FISWG_Morph_Analysis_Feature_List_v2.0
Facial image comparisons are generally performed by individuals working within law enforcement, government, national defense, and academic institutions for research purposes.
At this time, no public certification programs for facial image comparison exist. However, the International Association for Identification (IAI) is currently working on guidelines to further develop certification programs which are expected to be available to practitioners within the next few years.
Many agencies/institutions have training programs which are suited to their specific facial image comparison needs. There are limited training programs available to the general public.
Although experience as a portrait photographer, sketch artist, cranial facial expert, etc., can be helpful, the facial image comparison process requires additional training, evaluation, and mentorship.