Name recognition company helps FBI in search of illegal visitors

Language Analysis Systems Inc., a producer of multicultural name recognition software, has given the FBI information about the names of five individuals suspected of entering the country illegally about three weeks ago.

The FBI published an alert Dec. 29, saying it was seeking five individuals with Pakistani names believed to have crossed the border from Canada around Dec. 24. LAS, of Herndon, Va., provided the FBI with a list of variations of the names on Dec. 30, and published the most common variations on its Web site today.

It is common for names transliterated from foreign scripts such as Arabic to have several valid spellings in the Roman alphabet, complicating the task of tracking and identifying people who enter this country.

LAS has worked as a consultant for 18 years with the federal law enforcement, intelligence and border control communities developing proper name analysis applications. It received permission to commercialize the software in 2001 and released its Name Reference Library, which uses a database of 1 billion names to provide variations of and information about proper names.

Chief executive officer John Hermansen said about 75 percent of the company's sales are to government, but private sector sales to companies such as banks and airlines are growing.

The FBI is searching for Abid Noraiz Ali, Adil Pervez, Akbar Jamal, Iftikhar Khozmai Ali and Mustafa Khan Owasi. LAS posted a list of more than 70 alternate spellings to the names on its Web site at las-inc.com/fbialert. The company calls the alternatives 'highly plausible' variations of the names originally provided in the FBI alert.

Organizations that can demonstrate a need can get the full list of name variations from LAS by e-mailing a request to fbialertrequest@las-inc.com and including name, organization, title, address, phone number and the purpose of the request.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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