Editorial: About Face
Written by Kristi Mayo   

Your face. It’s the oldest biometric there is. From picking a loved one out of a crowd, to identifying an individual who is a potential threat, our minds evolved to read faces thousands of years ago. Today, technology is just catching up.

In this issue, we feature two articles about faces. In one article, “Facial Recognition in Law Enforcement,” author John Dowden explains how algorithms have advanced to make facial recognition technology a fast, frictionless, and convenient way of identifying individuals. As more cameras are deployed on street corners and in the hands of witnesses, the ability to identify an individual from the resulting imagery becomes an incredible investigative tool.

In addition, the ability to reconstruct a face from mere bone can make all the difference when trying to identify those remains. Forensic artists have successfully achieved facial reconstructions for more than a century, but today they are getting an assist from DNA. In this issue’s article, “For the First Time: NCMEC Uses Color for Facial Reconstruction,” you’ll see how DNA phenotyping is being used to predict genetic ancestry, eye color, hair color, freckling, and face shape. These clues can help forensic artists—who previously only worked in shades of gray—construct more life-like, color reconstructions of unidentified remains.

Investigations are enhanced when you can see the victim, or the perpetrator, looking back at you.

—Kristi Mayo, Editor
Evidence Technology Magazine

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ONE OF THE CHALLENGES of writing and editing a magazine is telling a story in a relatively small amount of space. Sometimes it seems like there is never enough room to say everything that needs to be said. I find myself making tough decisions about what parts stay and what parts go.