The Louisville FBI announced on twitter about the arrest of a man named Stephen Chase Randolph of Harrodsburg in connection with the Capitol hill violence on Jan 6th earlier this year.
According to the FBI, he is facing charges for unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct. Stephen also told undercover agents it was “f**king fun” to be in the Capitol mob, according to the FBI sources.
Now, what’s more interesting here is that the authorities tracked and arrested the suspect using facial recognition programs. The facial recognition program hit his image on his girlfriend’s Instagram.
In late January, the FBI released the images of Stephen Randolph as wanted for “assault on federal officers”. The FBI, then used an open source facial comparison tool that had given effective and reliable results in the past.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent, “The facial recognition tool yielded results associated with the Instagram page of an individual (“Individual-1″) from Kentucky who appeared to be the girlfriend of the SUBJECT”.
The affidavit also mentioned that the girlfriend’s Instagram account also contained a photograph of Stephen wearing the same grey toboggan with white Carhartt ambroidered on the front that was seen in the videos at the Capitol.
Then the FBI went to Stephen’s Facebook account through his girlfriend’s Facebook account and that almost confirmed the suspect’s involvement in the violence and also gave some relevant information to reach him.
After getting necessary information and confirmation, the FBI sent two undercover agents at Stephen Randolph’s workplace to get more information. The agents talked to him about the Capitol hill incident.
According to the feds, Stephen told the undercover agents that he attended the former President’s speech but left early after hearing people would be going to the U.S. Capitol, and he was in that area for approximately 5 minutes before “shit went crazy” at the Capitol and that “it as fu**ing fun” to be a part of the incidence.
Stephen Randolph was arrested one week after the undercover agents talked to him.
Stephen Chase Randolph, “knocked over a U.S. Capitol Police officer manning the barriers at the building, “causing [Officer-1]’s head to hit the stairs behind her, resulting in a loss of consciousness.” He then “continued to assault” two other USCP officers by physically pushing, shoving, grabbing, and generally resisting the officers and interfering with their official duties,” the FBI authorities said.
In the Capitol hill violence investigation and many other individual cases, the facial recognition tools or artificial intelligence have played a big role and have been used by online sleuths to identify and track potential suspects.
The FBI had previously conceded that a prosecutors office in Maryland had used facial recognition technology to help the bureau identify Capitol riot suspect Robert Reeder, that the FBI used a “biometric search” to confirm the identity of Capitol defendant Mark Simon and an FBI special agent testified to using facial recognition technology to confirm the identification of Daniel Ray Caldwell at the Capitol insurrection.
Even though all other cases also used AI and other technologies to identify suspects, this case of Stephen Randolph is definitely a different one, because in this case, a facial recognition search actually led to an arrest completely from the no particular information state.
In other cases, these technologies helped, but they actually just confirmed the identity of a suspect already on the radar of the FBI. Before this, “image” search had led the federals to Grady Owens’ Instagram account.
In this case, the FBI is completely straightforward about the use of facial recognition technology.
This is an example of how artificial intelligence and similar technologies can be used to create tools that can help in creating not only entertainment platforms, but also creating law and order in the society.
Using technology for solving actual problems rather than creating ruckus about everything that’s not so important will help in creating a society that’s truly progressive.