Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
Put scientists, not cops, in crime labs
Detroit Free Press, United States - Nov 8, 2008
Their task will get even harder if the city finds the funds to complete the audit of the crime lab, including the units that deal with fingerprints, ...
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IAI Conference Topics -
Louisville, Kentucky 2008:
Moderator: Steve Everist
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Documentation issues as they apply to latent prints
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Historical topics related to latent print examination
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Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page
with FIG #69; blood on wallboard; I. Farrell of Texas. You can send your example of unique distortion to
For discussion, visit the CLPEX.com forum FIG thread.
Updated the forum Keeping Examiners Prepared for
thread with KEPT #43; Expert Status - What makes you an expert?;
by Michelle Triplett. You can send your
questions on courtroom topics to Michelle Triplett:
Updated the Detail Archives
we looked at the introduction of an excellent general
psychology article on Confirmation Bias.
we look at an article that projects multi-modal
identification reducing the reliance on fingerprint AFIS systems, from:
Advances in alternative biometric identification techniques are threatening
US law enforcement agencies’ long-established reliance on automated
Automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) were originally
introduced to the US in the 1980s and became the gold standard of positive
criminal identification in 1999 with the advent of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s (FBI) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification
Systems. While the technology has proven consistently reliable and become a
foundational tool for the day-to-day business of global law enforcement,
this profound reliance on fingerprints is about to change. AFIS is on a
collision course with imminent technological advancement.
The competition Institutional confidence in the use of fingerprints and the
subsequent reliance on AFIS as the best available and most effective
biometric (measurement of a physical or behavioral characteristic) means of
identifying individuals, has been bolstered by an established infrastructure
dedicated to providing specialised technology and services.
There are now, however, a range of emerging biometric technologies that have
achieved the level of stability and reliability required to expand law
enforcement’s options for unique positive identification.
In addition, a fundamental shift from proprietary technology to
standards-based biometric capture and matching, along with the development
of standards-based platforms that enable integration of a broad range of
human identification options, have the potential to advance criminal
identification to a whole new level.
The three pillars of this law enforcement identification ‘revolution’ are:
development of advanced practical biometric capabilities development of
standards-based multiple identification technology platforms integration of
sophisticated methodologies and algorithms into systems that unite
conventional and emerging identification capabilities.
Advanced practical biometrics Automated fingerprint identification systems
have enjoyed the status of an effective, established biometric technology
that offers demonstrable benefits in the critical task of identifying and
Biometrics in general, however, have a less favorable reputation of
over-promising and under-performing. This dynamic is poised for change. Two
key factors are driving this – genuine technology capability and performance
improvements and, perhaps more importantly, a developing understanding of
how biometrics can be most effectively deployed to solve specific law
This is particularly true of both face and iris recognition. These
technologies have not only had vital image capture and processing issues
resolved, but also have extended their capabilities with the advent of very
high resolution, distance-based, high-quality image capture. These
developments – combined with the ability to extract reasonable face or iris
images from relatively standardised digital image capture devices – have
begun to position face and iris recognition as potential forensic biometrics
challenging AFIS’s unique position as the only biometric with forensic
Today, high-end face and iris capabilities are being primarily developed in
co-operation with the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement
agencies. However, this technology will begin to ‘trickle down’ to more
mainstream law enforcement applications in the next three to five years.
Other factors contributing to the emergence of advanced practical biometrics
include overall performance gains in capture and matching accuracy, lower
hardware and device costs, more experience in software and solution
development and integration, and the introduction of smaller form factors.
This has also led to an increase of mobile multibiometric devices that
enable various levels of local and centralised field-based identification
The bottom line is that a range of reliable identification options are now
widely available, reasonably priced and proven to be effective law
enforcement tools. Standards-based platforms AFIS systems have become
increasingly more sophisticated in terms of automated pre-processing of
images, information sharing across large multi-jurisdictional systems and
the speed and accuracy of matching. Yet, AFIS implementations remain
essentially closed systems of biometric identification.
There has been some progress in augmenting AFIS with other types of
identification – primarily palm prints and mugshots (the FBI’s Next
Generation Identification system is one example of this type of progress).
Nevertheless, these are not fully integrated
Standards-based identification platforms that allow for the integration of a
range of biometrics offer a powerful alternative to the existing law
enforcement identification infrastructure.
Rather than looking at the evolution of law enforcement identification as
AFIS plus other biometrics (palm prints, mugshots, iris), a shift will occur
towards building a complete multibiometric profile.
Platforms will no longer be AFIS-centric – finely tuned and exclusively
focused on AFIS performance – but rather designed to be more biometric
neutral – relying on whatever biometric information is available.
Along with biometric neutrality, truly interoperable standards-based
biometric solutions will become commonplace. Enrollment and matching will be
performed on any system regardless of the initial capture device, biometric
template generation software, or matching algorithm used. These standard
platforms will not only improve law enforcement identification capabilities,
but will accelerate the on-going development of technology solutions on
offer as the market responds to an open, more flexible IT identification
environment that does not lock customers into a single vendor solution.
In this way standards-based platforms will encourage competition beyond
today’s ‘big four’ AFIS vendors – Sagem, Motorola, Cogent and NEC.
This type of platformwill also drive the next generation of biometric-based
identification solutions. The performance of any particular technology will
no longer be the driving force of solution development. The performance of a
range of technologies that together provide comprehensive identity
information, will be the key to success.
These standards-based platforms will not only include the ability to easily
integrate multiple biometrics from multiple sources within a single
environment, but also ‘true interoperability’ that allows for updating and
identification independent of the hardware or software used for either
This requires the creation of a secure methodology for acquiring, storing,
and matching biometrics and more complex identification profiles that are
vendor independent. Though the leading AFIS vendors may fight the
inevitable, the rapidly-approaching future is one that focuses on the
integration of standardised technology, not the dominance and limitations of
proprietary solutions. And, one in which AFIS will no longer be the singular
focus, but rather one biometric element in a complex approach to criminal
Integrated advanced ID
Truly advanced identification platforms are not just about biometrics
matching, but more complex profile-matching that integrates and fuses
various identification technologies and methodologies in
This evolution of a more sophisticated multiple identification technology
platform is poised to radically transform the business of law enforcement.
The combination of conventional identification methods – such as biographic
information and body marks – with this advanced technology will foster
complex, multilayered, multi-dimensional profiles that can be searched and
matched on any single identifier or any combination of identifiers. This
requires the creation of complex databases that enable advanced searching
capabilities. Data sourced from across the law enforcement community will be
searched and matched to continually enhance criminal profiles.
This type of complex and multi-dimensional fusion is in many ways the ‘Holy
Grail’ of identification. Law enforcement agencies will have the tools to
quickly identify and distinguish threats from non-threats, focusing
resources on high-risk individuals.
This scenario is not a far-flung futuristic vision, but rather the
inevitable outcome of identification, database, platform, and searching and
matching algorithm capabilities that exist today. Most of the pieces are in
place. The challenge and the opportunity is to bring them together in a way
that provides a practical, high performance alternative to today’s automated
fingerprint identification systems.
While this is not a trivial undertaking, it is also not an insurmountable
one. In the end, the systems used today will morph and evolve over time.
First, into Automated Multiple Biometric Information Systems that rely on
the creation of more complete biometric profiles. And ultimately, into
Automated Multi-Modal Identification Systems where complex multi-mode
identification profiles give law enforcement officials highly-sophisticated
tools that save time, money, and lives.
CMaxine Most is the principal and founder of emerging technology strategy
and research consultancy, Acuity Market Intelligence, a CJIS Group partner.
October/November 2008 www.policereview.com
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- Keeping Examiners Prepared for Testimony - #43
by Michele Triplett, King County
Disclaimer: The intent of this is to
provide thought provoking discussion. No claims of accuracy exist.
Question – Expert Status:
What makes you an expert?
I know more than the general public.
My training and experience. My initial
training was for 2 years and each year I take continuing education classes.
In addition, I’ve worked in the fingerprint field for 8 years.
I’ve qualified as an expert in several state and federal
I have a list of judges who have accepted my qualifications
as an expert.
The 2 year on the job training program I completed helped
me acquire the education, knowledge, skills, and experience needed to
qualify as an expert. The International Association of
Identification certification test and my yearly proficiency tests ensure
that I continue to have the knowledge and ability to qualify as an expert.
Generally speaking, most experts should try to meet the
federal requirements of an expert. Even if you don’t work
for a federal agency it’s possible for a case to have a change of venue and
turn into a federal case.
Answer a: Some old training
programs have very low requirements for what qualifies someone as an expert.
Knowing more than the general public could be a very basic definition
but it doesn’t meet the ‘Federal Rules of Evidence’ requirement of an
Answer b: This is an
abbreviated answer and may not sufficiently qualify someone as an expert.
There are federal criteria that an expert should meet and just
because previous cases didn’t confirm your qualifications doesn’t mean that
it won’t happen in the future.
Answers c and d: These
answers are very similar. Just because you’ve testified
before doesn’t mean that the courts have checked that you met the criteria
under Federal Rules of Evidences, rule 702. Even thought
the Federal Rules of Evidence are specifically for federal cases, many
states have similar criteria.
Answer e: The Federal Rules
of Evidence (Rule 702) requires that an expert have skill, knowledge,
education, experience, and training. Jeff Barnes from the
FBI teaches the acronym SKEET to easily remember this criteria.
SKEET stands for skills, knowledge, education, experience, and
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