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The Lack of Statistics and Distortion Can Weaken Fingerprint Accuracy
By Michael Cherry; Edward J. Imwinkelried; Manfred Schenk
Fingerprint examiners claim that their subjective analyzes yield
accurate conclusions as to the source of the images they study. However,
that claim is suspect. Examiners rely on partial, distorted images.
Moreover, they have yet to construct a convincing statistical case
validating their approach. Consequently, forensic researchers throughout
the world are proposing alternative methodologies for evaluating
fingerprints. For example, some researchers are developing a
fundamentally different, computerized approach to fingerprint
comparisons. Rather than relying on subjective human interpretation,
this approach carefully scans and measures the features in the images
being compared. When the computer finds differences, the computer
produces exhibits that clearly visualize the differences – differences
showing either that the prints came from different people or that they
are too deformed to be of evidentiary value. In the authors' experience,
most crime scene
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