Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Witness: Only Prints Found on Bags Belonged to Defendant
SANTA MARIA TIMES, CA
- Oct 26, 2006
...suspects prints found on plastic trash bags prosecutors allege were
used to suffocate victim...
Fingerprints in the Fridge Trap Burglar
LANCASHIRE EVENING POST, UK
- Oct 25, 2006
...detectives were able to trace suspect after he left
marks on a cake box he opened...
Prints Now Required to Pawn
- Oct 24, 2006 ...passed ordinance now requires that pawn
shop owners take fingerprints from customers...
Experts Link Suspects DNA, Fingerprints
- Oct 23, 2006 ...trial ends with expert testimony about
evidence collected after the shooting of a state trooper...
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist
Fingerprints is art....ask Di Vinci!!
charlton97 Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:48 pm
This week's detail: DPR effects
g. Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:33 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
No major updates to the website this week
we looked at the relation of keratin 14 to the growth of friction
we look at a Fox News article that relates that the FBI is accepting
misdemeanor and juvenile ten-print submissions for retention in IAFIS.
FBI Expands Fingerprint Database to Misdemeanors, Juvenile Offenders
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
By Loe Palazzolo
WASHINGTON — The FBI is bolstering its database of fingerprints to include
those from misdemeanor and juvenile offenses, but some state government
officials are suggesting they won't go along with the change.
FBI officials said the new record-collecting policy, which relies heavily on
states to volunteer records of "nonserious" offenses, will help track down
criminals and expand employee screening.
But privacy advocates argue that enlarging the FBI's Fingerprint
Identification Records System will bedevil job applicants with minor
offenses on their records, and that the tide of data could lead to the
misidentification of suspects.
Previously, the FBI only admitted the criminal records of persons arrested
for serious misdemeanors or felonies into the database, which holds the
digitized prints of more than 50 million Americans, said Harold M. Sklar, an
assistant general counsel for the FBI.
Records of nonserious offenses, such as petty larceny, trespassing and
drunkenness, were accessible only at the state and local levels.
The database is largely supported by records from local and state
jurisdictions, but the new policy does not compel state law enforcement
agencies to hand over records to the FBI for retention.
Maryland law enforcement officials, for instance, have said that the state
will not participate beyond the FBI's old policy of storing serious
misdemeanor and felony records.
"We're going to continue to do our procedure as we've always done it. We
feel we've always been very efficient and thorough," said Mark Vernarelli,
spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
The new policy permits the FBI to store all fingerprints "relating to adult
and juvenile offenses submitted by criminal justice agencies for retention,"
according to the rule proposal, approved earlier this month by U.S. Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales.
Police hope to better the odds of identifying criminals who leave prints at
the scene of a crime — called "latent prints"— by bouncing them against a
more expansive database, Sklar said.
"It would be a shame if something that could bring finality to a case were
sitting in a repository somewhere," Sklar said. "Whether they're
fingerprints found in caves or apartments, the ability to compare them
against a robust record system is something we feel is necessary."
By broadening the database's scope, the FBI is centralizing records that had
been strewn among local jurisdictions and often unavailable to outside
police and employers.
Offenses such as driving while intoxicated, trespassing, prostitution and
petty theft — mid- to-low-level misdemeanors in most states — were only
immediately available to police in the state in which they occurred, Sklar
Now with one FIRS query, a school district in Maine could discover that a
person seeking a job as a bus driver had once been convicted of drunken
driving in California, assuming both states opted to pass the records to the
FBI, Sklar said.
Christopher Calabrese, counsel for the ACLU's Technology & Liberty Project
said that, more likely, employers will use the database to sort out
applicants with any stain on their records, whether or not the nature of the
offense is relevant to the job requirements.
"This is part of a much larger trend of permanently recording every blemish
and mistake in our lives and having it follow us around for the rest of our
lives," Calabrese said. "A lot of these offenses are exactly the nonserious
things that we used to think people could grow out of and move on — that's
why they're called 'nonserious.'"
Broadening the database would encourage more false positives, Calabrese
said, because as volume increases, so does the difficulty in grooming and
updating the database.
"Yes, you can create the possibly of solving new crimes, but you also create
the possibly of ensnaring people who are falsely connected to a crime
because of mistaken information," he said. "Fingerprint matches are
accurate, yes. What's more likely to happen is mistakes being made in
linking the person to their fingerprints."
James A. Hender, a University of Maryland, College Park, computer science
professor and former branch chief in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency, said that "the larger and larger connections become, the
greater the chance for accidental use or accidental misuse. You'd like to
see a larger collection come with a higher standard of both input quality
and output quality," he said.
As the database swells, it will become a larger target and harder to
protect, Hender said.
"From a security point of view, if you put all the gold in Fort Knox, it
better be Fort Knox," he said.
Surveys from contributing law enforcement agencies showed that the new
collections are unlikely to "excessively increase" the fingerprints on file,
Sklar said, and that they can be easily handled by the current system.
The FBI obtains 94 percent of its criminal records from state and local
police, Sklar said, emphasizing that these jurisdictions elect — but are not
required — to hand the records over to the federal authorities for storage,
and that anyone can request to view their own records in the database, Sklar
"We try to walk that fine line between doing justice for people who use the
records and doing justice for people who don't want to be characterized or
viewed inaccurately. We have a way for people to say, 'This information is
wrong,'" Sklar said.
The policy rolls back a restriction imposed in 1974 to cut back on the bulk
of paper files — not out of concerns for privacy, Sklar said. Since 1999,
prints have been stored electronically in the FIRS, making the restriction
unnecessary, he said.
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