In a story that brings to mind John Woo's "Face-off" which starred John Travola and Nic Cage as an FBI agent and drug dealer/terrorist who "switched faces" via plastic surgery comes this news off the wires.
Ramirez Abadia, a leader of Colombia's biggest drug cartel who had his features deliberately altered by plastic surgery, was identified by Brazilian and American anti-drug agents using advanced voice recognition technology.
A write up can be found here from the Washington Post.
U.S. intelligence agencies have used voice recognition for decades, but the technology has become much more effective in recent years through improvements in software that rapidly analyzes vocal frequency patterns, said Jim Hunter, a partner in the Merlin Risks security firm in Sao Paulo.
"The way you use your voice is as individual as fingerprints," Hunter explained. "If they have a sample of a known voice and they get an unknown sample of sufficient length, they then test the unknown against the known."
The process is more complex than fingerprinting because peoples' voices are different when they speak normally, yell or whisper _ but the software breaks down different frequencies and uses statistical analysis to make matches
Good plastic surgery should not be able to make you unrecognizable to family, friends, or intelligence agencies. How would you alter yourself to evade detection? Let's look at Mr. Ramirez to get some ideas.
If you look at the difference between the "new & improved" drug dealer on the left with some old FBI stock photos on the right & you can see some rather obvious stigmata of plastic surgery.
- rhinoplasty - note the excessively narrowed upper part of the nose & I think you can see a red scar inside of the left nostril on the upper picture
- Face lift & neck liposuction - his face is kind of globally distorted. On the underside of the neck there appears to be a "dent" which can be from sutures or liposuction. He's also got a very prominent chin cleft which wasn't evident (to me) on the old blurry photos.
- blepharoplasty (eyelids) - he's got a rounded eye and clear ectorpion or "scleral show" (scar contracture which pulls the lid down and shows more of the 'white of the eye') on his left lower lid which a not infrequent complication of lower eyelid surgery
- facial implants - these are made from silastic (silicone rubber). I say this because his face has assumed all these weird geometries along the cheek, chin, and jawline. Facelifts and/or fat grafting can do this to some degree, but my money's on implants.