Paedophiles could be trapped by victims' eyes: Police may use reflections in digital photos to catch child abusers

  • Research from UK universities found technology can help id offenders
  • Eye's pupil acts like a mirror in which the images of people are caught
  • For the technique to work the photos has to be shot in high-resolution

By Sara Smyth

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Photo: In this picture of a man's face, it is possible to identify other people (picture posed by models)

Photo: In this picture of a man's face, it is possible to identify other people (picture posed by models)

Reflections from the eyes of child sex abuse victims in digital photographs could be used by police to catch paedophiles.

According to new research from two UK universities, the images of people reflected in the victim's eye can be identified with the help of advanced camera technology.

The eye's pupil acts like a mirror in which the images of people standing behind the photographer are caught.

The breakthrough means that unseen bystanders who witnessed a crime could now be identified once the high-resolution photographs are magnified.

Psychologists at the University of York and the University of Glasgow were able to extract such images and zoom in on them so that the subjects could be identified by third parties.

Lead researcher Dr Rob Jenkins said: ‘The pupil of the eye is like a black mirror. Eyes in the photographs could reveal where you were and who you were with.'

Dr Jenkins said it was possible to ‘mine face photographs for hidden information' including witnesses, bystanders and locations.

In the study, Dr Jenkins and the University of Glasgow's Christie Kerr photographed eight individuals, who were looking at four people behind the camera.

 

The reflected faces were then cropped and magnified and subjects were asked to either match the images to mug shots or to identify the faces that they knew. 

Close-up: It is possible to see a group of people reflected in the eye, using a technology which could lead to breakthroughs over crimes which are photographed by their perpetrators

Close-up: It is possible to see a group of people reflected in the eye, using a technology which could lead to breakthroughs over crimes which are photographed by their perpetrators 

Identifiable: The faces of individuals in the photograph can be seen by zooming in on the image

Identifiable: The faces of individuals in the photograph can be seen by zooming in on the image

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found test subjects were able to spot the reflections of familiar faces 84 per cent of the time.

When the reflected images were of unfamiliar people, observers were able to match the person to a mug shot with 71 per cent accuracy.

The researchers said they were surprised to discover that even unfamiliar faces are distinguishable despite the poor quality of the images.

The quality of images of reflected faces is about 30,000 times lower than a face that was directly captured in the same photograph.

The researchers suggested this technique could become a crucial part in investigating criminal cases where in which victims are photographed, including hostage-taking and child abuse.

But for the technique to work the photos has to be shot in high-resolution and the subject must be looking directly at the camera.

The subject's face must be in focus and well lit to for their eyes to give a clear reflection.

Researchers said that if images were available from both eyes, a 3D image could be constructed showing what the subject saw when the photo was taken.


The comments below have not been moderated.

Well its a start.....

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Forget the camera, how about trapping them in a mantrap instead.

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sadly you can't improve any image source if it's poor in the first place, a compressed blur stays a blur

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Check out information concerning the image of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" which appeared on the Tilma of Juan Diego in the year 1531 at Tepeyac - a hill in Mexico. The same phenomenon appears in her eyes upon microscopic examination. A trully Faith building event. Tell Sara Blyth to keep the good articles coming during the New Year. Perhaps she could write an article about the image of "Our Lady of Guadalupe". KEEP THE FAITH!!

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Check out the stories about the images in the eyes of our " Lady of Guadalupe". The same thing happened as her image was imprinted on Juan Diego's Tilma in the year 1531 12 December at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. More evidence to sustain your faith. Thanks for the information. Tell Sarah to keep the good stories coming in the New Year.

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just ware a mask!

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ware?

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Ware did you lern to spel?

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This story is here for the benefit of all those who may have missed or forgotten it from two weeks ago

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Two weeks ? More like 4 days ago.

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also in the jodi arias case, the IDd jodi because of her reflection in her victim's eyes

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No, they didn't. They got her to admit she was there at that moment the pic was taken by lying about this technology. They couldn't ID her. Quit posting misinfo.

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They know about it now you have told them, even if it is possible they can now find a way of avoiding it.

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If you have a full frame camera, a very good lens, the light is right then maybe you could.

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