Feds Track Down Capitol Rioter Using Facial Recognition on Social Media Posts

Biometrics / Facial Recognition technology / Big Brother
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Federal authorities reportedly arrested a suspect in the U.S. Capitol riot after using facial recognition programs to find an image of the suspect on his girlfriend’s Instagram page. The arrest represents the first time that facial recognition was used to identify a suspect from the Capitol riot rather than to confirm the identity of an existing suspect.

The Huffington Post reports that federal authorities have arrested a suspect in the U.S. Capitol riot. The suspect is believed to be a man named Stephen Chase Randolph who was arrested in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, on Tuesday after authorities used facial recognition technology to find an image of him on his girlfriend’s Instagram page.

Authorities allege that Randolph knocked over a U.S. Capitol Police officer at barriers surrounding the building, “causing [Officer-1]’s head to hit the stairs behind her, resulting in a loss of consciousness.” Federal officials further allege that Randolph 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 released a number of images of Randolph in late January designating him as #168-AFO announcing he was wanted for “assault on federal officers.” The FBI later ran an image of Randolph through an “open source facial comparison tool” that had been “known to provide reliable results in the past.”

An FBI special agent wrote in an affidavit: “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… Individual-1′s Instagram account also contained a photograph of the SUBJECT (see Figure 11) wearing the same grey toboggan with white ‘Carhartt’ embroidered on the front” that was seen in videos at the Capitol.”

The FBI then located Randolph’s Facebook page via his girlfriend’s Facebook account. On April 13, two FBI special agents went undercover at Randolph’s workplace and talked to him about the Capitol riot. Randolph reportedly told the agents that “shit went crazy,” at the Capitol and that “it was fucking fun” to be involved.

The affidavit states: “RANDOLPH opined that the female police officer likely had a concussion because she was curled up in the fetal position after being pushed to the ground.”

The FBI has been using facial recognition tools in an increasing manner in recent years. The FBI previously conceded that a prosecutor’s office in Maryland used facial recognition technology to identity Capitol riot suspect Robert Reeder and that the FBI used a “biometric search” to confirm the identity of Capitol defendant Mark Simon. An FBI special agent also testified to using facial recognition technology to confirm the identity of Daniel Ray Caldwell a the Capitol riot.

However, Randolph’s arrest is the first high-profile acknowledgment that a facial recognition system was used to actually identify a suspect from the Capitol riot rather than confirm the identity of an existing suspect.

Randolph is scheduled to appear on Wednesday in court in Lexington before Magistrate Judge Matthew Stinnett of the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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