The Champion

May 2007 , Page 36 

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How We Can Improve the Reliability of Finerprint Identification

By Michael Cherry

A perfect storm is developing. The reliability of fingerprint identification has declined while the population of fingerprints has exploded. Who is going to tell prospective employees that their fingerprints indicate they have a criminal background? Every night an automated process takes place where the fingerprints of approximately 50,000 job applicants are computer analyzed as a part of civil and government pre-employment investigations. Unfortunately, the FBI systems performing the fingerprint screenings have significant calibration issues that can affect decisions of great importance, both civil and criminal, domestic and international.

Our fingerprint concerns used to be local. Local police departments and agencies maintained their own collections of fingerprints and there was little coordination among those with fingerprint databases. Now, with the threat of international terrorism, the United States faces a global population of dangerous individuals.

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