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Monday, May 20, 2002

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...

New Fingerprint Development Technique
-The Hindu, India, 5-20-02   
"The new method, the only one of its kind in the world, of detecting fingerprints, which utilises novel spray formulations based on dyes, is cost-effective and non-hazardous,"... and "fixes the calcium ions present in the sweat, which has not been resorted to until now."  (I have already e-mailed asking for more information on this technique... I'll deliver in a future Detail if made available)

Fingerprints are surprisingly easy to fake - IRNA Iran - London, May 18, IRNA -- Fake fingers made out of common household ingredients can fool security systems that use fingerprints to identify people. The artificial fingers and prints were created with gelatine by Japanese researchers who used the digits to trick biometric systems into thinking they were seeing the real thing.


Japanese researcher gums up biometrics scanners - IT World - 17 May 2002  "The results are enough to scrap the systems completely, and to send the various fingerprint biometric companies packing. Impressive is an understatement," Schneier wrote.

'Jello' threat sets security a-wobble - ZDNET - 16 May 2002
... far more threatening, because it uses latent fingerprints left by a person on ... with
digital photography tools, and then print out the image onto a transparent ...

Gummi bears defeat fingerprint sensors - The Register, UK - 16 May 2002
... five. Flushed with his success, he took latent fingerprints from a glass, which
he enhanced ... made a gelatine finger using the print on the PCB, using the same ...

(The press sure had fun with this topic, didn't they!!!)  Anyone want to do a research project for the Detail regarding fingerprint forgery using gelatin?  It shouldn't be too hard... and it could be tasty!!  :)

Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.

Last week, we went over the SWGFAST guidelines for minimum LPE qualifications and looked at educational requirements.  If you need to catch up on this or other past Details, they are available on the clpex.com Detail Archives page.  This week we are finishing up our T-shirt design contest by voting on your favorite!  But first, let's get an update from Pat Wertheim on recent events in Scotland...


Dear friends,

Many of you returned the consent forms and added your names to the petition to attempt and influence the Scottish Parliament to confront the SCRO over the erroneous identifications in the McKie and Asbury cases. Through the efforts of Mike Russell, Member of Scottish Parliament, the topic had been scheduled for debate last Wednesday. As many of you have no doubt heard, the Scottish Minister of Justice on Tuesday canceled the debate. Thus, no progress has been made and things stand as they were. The four "experts" who made the erroneous identifications in both the McKie and Asbury cases are back on the job, no effort has been made to set things right with Shirley McKie, and the SCRO has gotten away with their ludicrous assertion that fingerprint identification is merely a matter of opinion and different experts are entitled to different opinions as to an identification.

"The Scotsman," Scotland's most respected broadsheet (not a tabloid newspaper), has remained largely silent on this issue. However, in a strongly worded editorial the day after the canceled debate should have occurred, they came down very harshly on the Scottish Government for ignoring the problem:


"The Scotsman" has lent its influence in support of confronting the SCRO, which I view as a major milestone. But the Scottish Parliament itself is still ignoring the problem.

The list of fingerprint examiners signing the petition, expressing opposition to the SCRO's position, and calling for things to be set right remains open. So if you have not yet added your name, please consider doing so. If the SCRO's position becomes policy in Scotland, its effect will quickly spread throughout the UK. And if you think it will stop there, think again. In Judge Pollak's recent Daubert decision reversing himself and allowing fingerprint testimony in his US Federal Court, he cited extensively from testimony that had occurred only the day before his decision -- testimony in the UK. What if Judge Pollak had instead found the SCRO's position reflected in testimony in the UK?

You can find the images in both the McKie and the Asbury case at http://www.onin.com/fp and you can find information there and at http://www.clpex.com/McKie.htm on how to add your name to the petition. Please give this issue some thought, as this is taking on the proportions of being the most hotly debated situation ever to occur in the history of fingerprints. Your support for our science is needed.

Pat A. Wertheim



Last night, BBC's version of U.S. "60 Minutes" (Panorama) aired another show on the Alan McNamara case.  Again, an independent expert has reached the same conclusion as reached before: the lift bearing McNamara's print could NOT have come from the item the Greater Manchester Police claim it was lifted from.  There are images of the actual lift in question in the broadcast below; I encourage you to watch the program and form your own opinion.  More details on this case will be forthcoming after McNamara's appeal is concluded.  For now, McNamara case information can be found at the Panorama site:


The new Panorama program is approximately an hour in length, and may be accessed at:


RealPlayer or MediaPlayer may be needed to view the video.  If for some reason the link does not seem to work, you might try going the McNamara page of Panorama's website at:



Here are the results to vote on...

When you need a lift, call a Latent Print Examiner

Not enough Detail?  Check out CLPEX.com... It's all here!!

CLPEX.com - Taking Detail to the next level

Nothing is certain but Death, Taxes, and FINGERPRINTS

Latent Print Examiners DO IT with great DETAIL
Arches, Loops, and Whorls - OH MY!

Latent Print Examiners DO IT at all 3 levels

Leapin' Loops, Printman... it's the evil Dr. Daubert.  Get out your trusty spray can of Mitchell!!

(fingerprint with a vodka bottle shaped core) :ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY

Latent Print Examiners DO IT with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY
(fingerprint / magnifyer:) NO CLUES, YOU LOOSE

For informal banter about this week's topic, you may visit
the CLPEX chat board (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)  
And as usual, the onin.com forum (http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is available for more formal discussion.

UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Created the t-shirt survey form

Created a McKie page: http://www.clpex.com/McKie.htm that will have updates, news (soon), and links to most known information regarding this case / situation

Feel free to pass the link to The Detail along to other examiners. This is a free service FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.

If you have not yet signed up to receive the Weekly Detail in YOUR e-mail inbox, go ahead and join the list now so you don't miss out!

Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!


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