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Capitol Rioters Identified Using Facial Recognition Software, Cellphone Records - and Social Media Posts

Sunday May 9, 2021. 12:34 PM , from Slashdot
NBC News reports more than 440 Americans have now been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol building on January 6th, with charges now filed against people from 44 of America's 50 states. They describe it as 'one of the largest criminal investigations in American history.'

The largest number come from Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida, in that order. Men outnumber women among those arrested by 7 to 1, with an average age of 39, according to figures compiled by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. A total of 44 are military veterans.

Hundreds of arrests happened because rioters later bragged online:

In nearly 90 percent of the cases, charges have been based at least in part on a person's own social media accounts.

A New York man, Robert Chapman, bragged on the dating app Bumble that he'd been in the Capitol during the riot. The person he was seeking to date responded, 'We are not a match,' and notified the FBI.

In fact, the investigative agency has now received 'hundreds of thousands' of tips from the public, and has even posted photos of people who participated in the riots online asking for the public's help to identify them.

But NBC also reports that technology is being used to identify participants:

'Investigators have also used facial recognition software, comparing images from surveillance cameras and an outpouring of social media and news agency videos against photo databases of the FBI and at least one other federal agency, Customs and Border Protection, according to court documents.'

Investigators 'have also subpoenaed records from companies providing cellphone service, allowing agents to tell whether a specific person's phone was inside the Capitol during the siege.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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