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The Boston Globe


Facial-recognition software precision may be years away

Low resolutions, tilted heads still confound

It looks simple in the movies. The hero feeds a digital image of a suspect into a computer, which matches it with millions of data files and comes up with a positive identification.

But in real life, it took eyeballs, not microchips, to identify Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two young men believed to have bombed the Boston Marathon. Despite pictures of the brothers being in government databases, such as for motor vehicle licenses, the facial-recognition software was not able to match them against the fuzzy, grainy images investigators had of the suspects at the scene.

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