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Bad news for criminals who are trying to remain hidden, nameless and faceless. A new technology, reported on Fox News’ site, can predict what a terrorist’s face looks like from less than a drop of blood or single strand of hair. The development’s name is Parabon Snapshot, this new groundbreaking technology can take traces of DNA and put a face to the crime.
From a terrorist who built a bomb intended to kill hundreds through to a thief who stole a handbag, this is the sort of innovation that makes it hard for a felon to stay anonymous. The
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded this innovation, created by Parabon NanoLabs. In war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, there are networks that build improvised explosive devices, this has created an urgent need to provide enhanced tools to help military teams identify, track, dismantle and defeat terrorist networks. Similarly, terrorist plots such as the recent attacks in Manchester, Brussels and Paris have involved explosive devices so investigators immediately searched for clues to identify the bombmaker or possible bomb making network.
Snapshot is a solution for the military and law enforcement. If the bombmaker left any trace of DNA, the device can take it and read the DNA’s code to build a composite image of the bombmaker. Snapshot can predict the shape of a person’s face. Within the face, it will predict the terrorist or criminal’s eye color and hair color. The tech can reveal skin color, going so far as to add the degree of freckling.
Effectively, Snapshot reverse engineers the DNA to provide a picture. It can do this because DNA carries genetic instruction that dictates a person’s physical characteristics. Snapshot understands how this genetic data translates into physical appearance. This is a big leap ahead for the use of DNA in capturing terrorists and criminals.
Early adopters in law enforcement, military and counterterrorism teams have had great success with this new tool. It has been so successful that in a short span of time, Snapshot has been used by more than 80 agencies and Snapshot analysis has been undertaken in ten countries. Investigators have been using Snapshot to help solve tough current criminal cases as well as crack cold cases.
Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, for example, recently used the Parabon technology to create a composite for a suspect in a series of unsolved burglaries and rapes that occurred between June 19, 2010 and Sept. 2, 2012.
The technology has also reportedly been used by police in Florida to make arrests related to a 2011 homicide.