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January 28, 09

NEWS / BEYOND FINGERPRINTS Our New Identification System

Palm prints are taken from the scene of a diffused roadside bomb in Iraq. Later, an individual entering a New York airport is arrested on an unrelated charge. A full set of prints are taken during the booking process and submitted to our Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. A positive ID connects the man to the roadside bomb.

A ski mask-wearing bank robber leaves with his loot, and witnesses tell police they noticed a red skull tattoo on his hand. A search of NGI’s Interstate Photo System for a red skull tattoo provides a potential candidate list that could ultimately lead to the identification of the bank robber.

Both cases are hypothetical, but in the not-too-distant future these scenarios could really happen…thanks to the ongoing development of the Next Generation Identification system—a logical evolution of our current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

That evolution will include not only enhanced fingerprint capabilities but also other forms of biometric identification like palm prints, iris scans, facial imaging, scars, marks, and tattoos—in one searchable system.

Next Generation Identification is…
A state-of-the-art identification system that will be “bigger, faster, and better” than IAFIS, says Assistant Director Tom Bush of our Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

“Bigger” because it will increase the capacity of our fingerprint storage plus house multimodal biometrics records like palm prints and iris scans…and still have room to accommodate future biometric technologies (i.e., voice, gait, etc.) as they become available and prove reliable.

“Faster” because it will speed up response time for high priority criminal ten-print submissions from two hours to about 10 minutes on average. There will also be a special category called the “Repository of Individuals of Special Concern” containing records of known or suspected terrorists, wanted persons, and sexual offender registry names. These records can be quickly searched to help law enforcement in the U.S. and American soldiers in places like Iraq and Afghanistan assess the level of threat during an encounter.

“Better” because going beyond fingerprints as biometric identifiers will enhance the investigative and identification processes. For example, adding palm prints makes sense: some of the latent prints left behind by criminals at crime scenes are palm prints. NGI is also being developed to be compatible with other U.S. biometric systems and potentially with those of some foreign partners.

Next Generation Identification is not…
A tool to expand the categories of individuals from who the fingerprints and biometric data may be collected, nor will it change existing legal authorities.

It doesn’t threaten individual privacy. As required with any federal system, the FBI is doing Privacy Impact Assessments on what information will be collected, how it will be shared, how it will be accessed, and how the data will be securely stored…all in an effort to protect privacy.

NGI is not strictly an FBI system. It’s a joint effort and is being developed in full collaboration with its primary users—our local, state, and federal partners…in particular the CJIS Advisory Policy Board and the National Crime Prevention Compact Council.

Over the next few years, we’ll be rolling out NGI capabilities incrementally so our partners will have the benefit of each capability as soon as it gets our stamp of approval. Stay tuned for future updates, and visit our new NGI webpage.



AnnaMaria Realbuto
Thank you for all your assistance and efficiency...
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Kateryna Melnychenko
Thanks a lot Anton!...
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Rani Payne
Thank you so much! I’m sure I will be in touch again with something else that will need to be apost...
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Serge Bauer Law
Thank you again for your help with this case!...
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