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Monday, May 5, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Iain McKie Posts Case Update - ONIN.com discussion board - May 1, 2003 ...As the battle to have the truth heard enters its sixth year it is revealing to look at some of the evidence SCRO and their supporters are denying...

Missing Print License Woes for So. African Man - THE DAILY NEWS, SO. AFRICA - May 02, 2003 ...required in South Africa, police could immediately confiscate his license because it lacked the necessary fingerprint...

System to Track Foreign Visitors by Fingerprints
 - THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, UT - April 30, 2003 ...foreign visitors arriving in the US will be tracked by a new system that verifies their identities through fingerprints...

Cops Hook Up to Fingerprint Database - THE LOWELL SUN, MA - April 28, 2003 ...PD is one of the first municipalities in MA to go online with its Live Scan Fingerprint Storage and Transfer System...

Police Point, Click Through Evidence - NEWS 14 CAROLINA, NC - April 28, 2003 ...fingerprinting system in NC allows law enforcement to keep and maintain a database of criminals in the state, while also using it to find suspects...

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, David "Ski" Witzki brought us some more information on the Reyes case in Florida.  This week, Steve Scarborough gives us some of his thoughts on current and recent research in the field of fingerprints. 


Contemporary Fingerprint Research
By Steve Scarborough

Recently, critics allege that there is no modern research being done in the field of fingerprints, and that fingerprint validation studies do not exist.  During the course of conducting research for my Daubert Card article for The Detail I found that both of the above statements were untrue. There is an enormous amount of current and recent research regarding fingerprints. 

Of course, the research that has a high impact, from my point of view, is the skin development studies done by Dr. Babler [1] and others, which has been so eloquently presented by Kasey Wertheim and Alice Maceo[2]. The structure and en-uterine formation of skin relates to the fundamental principles of permanence and uniqueness. Conclusions of identity in fingerprint examination are built upon the foundational works of Inez Whipple-Wilder[3], Charles Midlo[4], Harris Hawthorne Wilder[5] and Cummins.[6]

AFIS has also spurned a lot of biometric research such as the "Automated Systems for Fingerprint Authentication Using Pores and Ridge Structure," Proceedings of SPIE, Automatic Systems for the Identification and Inspection of Humans, in San Diego (SPIE Vol 2277) published in 1994.  Additionally the research to standardize AFIS technology has produced quite a bit of research in the area of biometrics and frequency studies

Other modern fingerprint research has been published around the world. A lot of important research has been recently published in Canada and Great Britain . All the papers published on point minimums where statistical models are examined, surely qualify scientific testing of the fundamental principles of fingerprint comparison. One excellent example is  “A Review of the Sixteen Point Fingerprint Standard in England and Wales” [7]  As a matter of fact, as I see it, the studies to determine the scientific basis for the use of a minimum point standard, such as those by the IAI Standardization Committee in 1971-73 and the 1995 Ne’Urim Declaration were also scientific research studies in Fingerprints.

A significant analysis of the discipline has been presented in papers published Christophe Champod, assistant professor, Institut de Police Scientifique et de Criminologie, University de Lausanne , Switzerland .  One of his interesting articles that cites a lot of contemporary writing about fingerprints, is “The Inference of Identity of Source: Theory and Practice[8] (1999).

Other recent and current research has been done in the area of biometrics. Perhaps due to the commercial aspect, some of the research in this area has been overlooked. However, one must believe that in order for companies, stockholders and investors to have confidence in their product, serious research must prove the effectiveness of their products.  There are numerous studies regarding the effectiveness of biometrics, and specifically fingerprints, in industrial security and other commercial aspects.

There are also extensive university level research projects in the area of biometrics. Michigan State University has been a leader biometric research led by scientists Anil Jain and Salil Prabhakar. Jain and Prabhakar have contributed some thirty publications in the field of biometrics and fingerprints and many more on general biometrics.  Probably the best known article being “On the Individuality of Fingerprints[9] by Jain, Prabhakar and Sharath Pankanti. There are literally hundreds of university research papers in the field of biometrics going back to late ‘80s and the early ‘90s.

A number of universities have established biometric research centers and in addition to Michigan State , there is the MIT Media Lab, Ohio University Center for Automatic Identification and the San Jose State University Biometric Research Center .  A great deal of research papers and presentations have come out of this research.

[1] W. Babler, “Quantitative Differences in Morphogenesis of Human Epidermal Ridges and their Configurations.” 1991

[2] K. Wertheim, A. Maceo, Friction Ridge Formation During the Critical Stage, JFI, 52 (1) Jan./Feb., 2002

[3] Inez L. Whipple-Wilder, The Ventral Surface of the Mammalian Chiridium J. Morph Anthropol 1904.

[4] Harold Cummins and Charles Midlo, Finger Prints, Palms and Soles An Introduction To Dermatoglyphics, 1943. Fingers, Palms, and Soles, Dover , 1961.

[5] Harris Hawthorne Wilder, Personal Identification; Gotham Press, 1918.

[6] Harold Cummins and Charles Midlo, Finger Prints, Palms and Soles An Introduction To Dermatoglyphics, The Blakiston Company, 1943

[7] Champod and Evatt, A Review of the Sixteen Point Fingerprint Standard in England and Wales, Fingerprint Whorld, 21 (82), Oct. 1995, and in the JFI, 46 (1), Jan./Feb. 1996

[8] http://www.forensic.gov.uk/forensic/conference/papers/identification.htm

[9] http://biometrics.cse.msu.edu/prabhakar_indiv_pami.pdf

[11] http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/cs

[12] http://www.cyberplebe.com/html/hired_defense.html (link was operational May 5, 2003)



"Everytime a line stops or splits it's called a typica. The amount of typica (with no difference) make's it an identification or not."

Submitted by Michele Triplett

copied 4-21-03


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Created a RSW 13 page for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in-service training course held last week.  See what they said about the Ridgeology Science Workshop!

Updated the Detail Archives

Updated the Newzroom.

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

Have a GREAT week!