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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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