Here’s an article entitled, “Figuring Out Fingerprints” that appeared in the August edition of Security Management Magazine. I was interviewed by Laura Spadanuta, Associate Editor, on the human side of fingerprint identification. [PDF] Click for more.
Current computer algorithms cannot be relied upon to make the critical judgments, and humans are likely to remain in the loop for many years to come,” says Matthew B. Thompson, a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Queensland and National ICT Australia who recently coauthored a study on latent fingerprint examination. “The problem is that, even though fingerprints have been used in criminal courts for more than 100 years, no properly controlled experiments on fingerprint examiners’ accuracy in identifying perpetrators have been conducted,” he notes. In Thompson’s study, the experts correctly matched just over 92 percent of the prints to the criminal. They mistakenly matched 0.68 percent of the prints to the subject. In another recent study conducted by the FBI, there was a .10 percent false positive rate and a false negative rate of 7.5 percent. Additionally, researchers differed in opinion about whether the information gathered from the fingerprints was sufficient for reaching a conclusion.