The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

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The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:58 am

[u][b]SITUATION:[/b][/u]

A ‘Prosecutor’ has recently provided an opinion in relation to a LiveScan (electronically recorded) tenprint form used for comparison purposes in a serious crime.

[u][b]BACKGROUND:[/b][/u]

This Prosecutor has stated that, “In the UK they have livescan but it was only ever an investigative tool. It was akin to a DNA hit on the database. It was never used as the evidence. Confirmatory fingerprints were always manually taken as the definitive prints of the defendant. [color=#FF0000]Can someone in England please confirm that this is correct. [/color]

[u][b]ISSUE:[/b][/u]

1. This Prosecutor suggest (and I quote) “when the prints are taken on livescan we therefore rely on a computer programme to have populated the screen correctly. Even though the cop and the suspect sign the screen we still rely on the computer programme. It seems to me to be unnecessarily dangerous to use this method to capture his prints. It’s not even as if it is photograph. If the fingerprint expert then does a comparison he is using a computer to download the final image. So the final image is potentially a statement or document created by a computer.”

2. Further states that “If there is another fingerprint form in the system ie one taken manually it may be prudent to get hold of it, get a statement from the cop who took it, and get the fingerprint expert to revisit the examination.”

3. Further states that “In my view the livescan system of electronically recorded tenprints should never be used to gather the comparison prints. It is a very useful investigative tool of course but prints should always be taken manually in the end result for comparison.”

4. Further states, “wouldn't it be obscene if someone mounted a clever argument on the reliability of a computer and the software and we lose the damning fingerprint evidence.”

Your well regarded opinions please.

Best regards, Mike.
Mike Fletcher
 
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Re: The end of Livescan

Postby Bill Schade » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:37 pm

So

What makes this prosecutor "smart" and why does his argument worry you?

If there is a question regarding the known exemplars, a set of "inked prints" can always be taken.

This sounds more like a defense argument
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Cameron » Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:15 am

I would be intrigued to read the full account of what that Prosecutor said, and in relation to the case that it was quoted in. I am sure that information like that travels quickly around defense circles as they are quick to jump on any issues with fingerprints.

Thanks
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:01 pm

It’s not that he is so ‘smart’ that worries me but rather this person’s rogue attitude towards a fundamental principle of LiveScan technology that concerns me. You are dead set correct in that it is a defense question which is another issue in its own. My first post is pretty much the full account of what the Prosecutor said. This case is not yet before the court. The prosecutor is pre-empting questions that don’t even exist as yet.

I have provided the following answers to the questions set:

1. The LiveScan print taker (a sworn Police officer) provides a statement and tenders the LiveScan fingerprint form in court. This officer can testify that the LiveScan device or ‘computer’ was working at the time of taking the prints. That is, when they rolled the offenders prints on the LiveScan optical block the image appeared on the computer screen with no issues. The printing officer can testify to the taking and acknowledging of the prints. Under the Queensland Evidence Act the print taker can also provide a certificate saying that the LiveScan device was in full working order at the time of taking the prints. However, this person is not a fingerprint expert and cannot testify that the prints coming up on screen are the offenders.

2. To provide evidence that the actual software is working correctly requires a software expert from the vendor company to be flown out from France. He cannot however testify that the prints match the defendant as he is not a fingerprint expert. The software is produced in France and then it is tested, retested and given an FBI certification which is globally accepted. Here’s my problem – are we expected to call a software expert from the vendor company in France for all disputed court cases in this regard?

3. The fingerprint expert testifies on the comparison work already done for the case and if needs be can take a set of inked prints from the defendant in addition to prove beyond any doubt that the LiveScan prints are the same as the inked prints.

Am I missing something here? The prosecutor is not happy with any of this and wants evidence that the ‘computer’ and software are working correctly. Haven’t I just done that? I am not re-inventing the wheel here but am I missing something because my answers don’t seem to sort out the issue with the prosecutor who believes that he is the only person on the planet who has thought of this argument.

On another point re the prosecutor’s original comments about the UK system I found online in the 2006 LiveScan best practice manual that ‘where possible every attempt should be made to eliminate wetprint taking’ - is this correct?

Thanks, Mike
Mike Fletcher
 
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Dogs Nose » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:39 am

Mike Fletcher wrote:2. To provide evidence that the actual software is working correctly requires a software expert from the vendor company to be flown out from France. He cannot however testify that the prints match the defendant as he is not a fingerprint expert. The software is produced in France and then it is tested, retested and given an FBI certification which is globally accepted. Here’s my problem – are we expected to call a software expert from the vendor company in France for all disputed court cases in this regard?


I think the Prosecutor has his knickers in a knot over nothing. The technology is fine (I am on the same system). How many tenprint records are matched daily/yearly where you work? Surely you can baffle him with stats as to how many livescan forms come through and how reliable they are in reproducing friction ridge detail. Surely you have countless examples of the same crooks friction ridge detail being recorded flawlessly numerous times with this technology. You should see it day in and day out. Full sets of tenprints reproduced time and again with the detail correctly represented. I have no problem offering this evidence. Now if he is wondering about that specific machine on that specific day, surely you only need to check that full set of tenprints against a previous (if the crook has them) to verify that in an instant. Not even sure why he is concerned about this. I don't really think the software bloke is the bloke to give that evidence.

I don't think the Prosecutor needs to concern himself with "how" it works (ie, needing the vendor), just that it does. You can tell the court that courtesy of your experience IMO.
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and the world laughs with you

Postby sandra wiese » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:48 am

I find in situations like this (when an attorney on either side makes a wholly unreasonable request) that a well placed laugh does wonders to diffuse the situation and take the 'righteous" out of the the argument. Obviously this prosecutor is incredibly ignorant. Please use some humor to gently educate all the while maintaining your "this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard" stance. It's also helpful if you know of a more senior attorney who can talk some sense into this doofus.

The only way this scenario (that using live-scan would be a danger) would be remotely plausible is if someone hacked into that SPECIFIC livescan, JUST AT THE MOMENT that the particular person in question was getting printed and, in real time coordinated with the movements of the jailer AND prisoner, would roll someone elses prints onto the screen. This would require some serious good hacking AND a video camera in the jail that is controlled by outside forces. I suppose they could also hack the livescan and just replace the card with someone elses prints, but then why not just delete the thing? Same outcome....In any case, as you can see this scenario is too implausible even for a James Bond movie. Possible? mmmmmmmm, yeah. Just as possible as all the popcorn kernels popping at once. Or my car turning into a flying horse to ride me home on a rainbow colored highway while I eat mint chocolate chip ice cream with a golden spoon.

That said, there are often times when it is necessary to have in-person inked prints. We routinely get in-person inked prints not only to confirm DNA matches (the irony of which also never fails to make me laugh out loud) but also for habitual offender packets and the like. And any time the defense wants to say "well that is not my guy" then we say "well bring him to me then"...one way or another this always puts the kibosh on that argument. But to require that each and every time? Unneccesary burden.
I keep 6 honest serving men
(they taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

-Rudyard Kipling
sandra wiese
 
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:50 pm

'Dogs nose’ you are dead set correct in that I can bombard the prosecutor with stats. I have them at my fingerptips Eg the number of LiveScan prints taken on that particular device that day, that month, that year, overall stats for the whole state and even the prints before and after the one in question – and low and behold all matching and storing correctly as you’d expect under this technology.

But this is all window dressing to the essential point that the prosecutor refers back to over and over again. The prosecutor wants to know about that specific device on that specific day – when the offender put his prints on the optical block glass platen what evidence do you have to show that it was his prints that ended up on the monitor and subsequently on the hard copy print form?

I like your argument that ‘the technology is fine (I am on the same system)’. You and countless other agencies around the world – but not good enough for this prosecutor.

In this case the offender is a cleanskin with no previous tenprints on record so I can’t compare them.

Dogs nose states, ‘I don't think the Prosecutor needs to concern himself with "how" it works (ie, needing the vendor), just that it does. You can tell the court that courtesy of your experience IMO’. I agree. Just how the software works is not the issue and brings into play all sorts of other issues like sharing trade secrets which I do not want to get into.

I have come to the conclusion that the only option is to make a request before the court to have a 2nd set of inked prints taken from the offender so that it can be compared to the LiveScan set. But doesn’t this go against the whole concept of LiveScan technology – we are trying to phase the old inked print method out aren’t we as old outdated, poor quality technology.

Sandra – I have gone passed the phase of laughing it off to now being a time consuming annoyance. I love your hacking theory though.
Mike Fletcher
 
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby stjudesreject » Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:08 am

Mike,

I am a UK fingerprint officer, virtually all evidential / charge sets of Fingerprints are now taken on Livescan and printed in the Fingerprint Bureau. The only time ink sets are taken are in TACT cases (terrorist sets) or if a specific area of friction ridge detail is required for examination that hasn't been disclosed - this in itself is still very rare and the only case that i'm aware of this occuring was operation orb.
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:19 pm

stjudesreject,

thank you very much for confirming this - much appreciated. Has your Fingerprint Bureau been challenged in this manner before?

Mike.
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby stjudesreject » Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:38 am

Hi Mike,

I'm certainly not aware of any challenges to cases brought before court regarding the security of Livescan. On occasion it's a question that we pose to trainee fingerprint officers in their mock court scenarios and the stock reply is that it's a secure system that has been signed off by ACPO.
I believe there was a standard response drafted by PITO (police information technology organisation) regarding any questions of security in the very early stages of operation and will try and locate this for you if that would be of assistance?
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 pm

G'day Stjudesreject,

the PITO response would certainly interest me it its not too much trouble to locate it.

Many thanks, Mike
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Neville » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:37 pm

Hi Mike,
Of cause there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Why not say no more, wait until the defendant is in the cells at court get a set of prints then produce them if and when the question comes up, proving that live scan worked perfectly on the day in question.

If we spent tax payers money on $@#% like this for every court case you would bankrupt the state in no time. Would the prosecutor require a software expert to give evidence that a Nokia phone was working properly or the Word document had work properly or a Fax had worked properly, I mean the list is endless. This is an age of technology it is in every thing we do. Fingerprints are one of the last to move into technology it is a joke that this prosecutor is jumping in on this. I wonder if the prosecutor is just trying to make a name before going private or just been watching too much TV.

I was told once, in another life as a technician with NCR, the difference between mechanical and electronic devices is that when mechanical devices give a problem it is usually subtle but when electronic devices give a problem it is unbelievably ridiculously catastrophic. I think you would know if the Livescan was not working correctly.
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:37 pm

Hello Neville,

there is a very famous saying using the words, 'head, nail, hitting' but not necessarily in that order.............

On another note - what happened in the rugby final last night? - the Crusaders never showed up. My theory is that Brad Thorn (with his obvious Queensland affiliation) deliberately threw that try away when they had an overlap of about 8 to 1 in the left corner and he went alone - you never got back in the game after that. Hope this isn't a sign for NZ rugby for the world cup (as a neutral observer of course).

Regards from across the ditch, Mike
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Neville » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:22 pm

Hi Mike
The answer in two words "Food Poisoning" just a warning to our Aussie and Sth African mates, beware. It was a shame that that was not mentioned in the movie Invictus.
Though to be honest you guys are on a roll in all ball sports worth mentioning.
Maybe we are using the old Aussie method of lulling the oppossion into a sense of security.
Anyway I think you will agree that the Crusaders have had a very rough time of it, not one at home game this year.
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Re: The end of Livescan (electronically generated tenprints) ?

Postby Mike Fletcher » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:04 pm

Neville,

I digress from this thread but;

oh come on - why let 'documented historical FACT' get in the way of a Hollywood blockbuster - just ask Mel Gibson (Braveheart, the Patriot etc etc).

It could be worse - for a minute I thought you were going to bring up the whole Chappell underarm affair..................! Speaking of ball sports worth mentioning - anyone seen the Ashes?

Regards, Mike
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