Lockheed Enhances FBI Fingerprinting System

The agency's Next Generation Identification System is getting palm-print matching and more accurate fingerprint matching.

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The next-generation identity system the FBI recently deployed will soon have the ability to match palm prints as well as provide increased accuracy for latent fingerprint matching, according to the federal contractor building the system.

Lockheed Martin has begun development of the third increment of a multi-phase Next Generation Identification System (NGIS), the FBI's new biometric ID system aimed at creating a more effective and accurate process for identifying fingerprints and other forms of biometric information.

The agency deployed the system in March after Lockheed finished its first phase, which allows the FBI to exchange fingerprints, around the clock, with more than 18,000 law-enforcement agencies and other authorized criminal justice partners. It also provides automated fingerprint and latent search capabilities, and electronic image storage.

MorphoTrak, an Alexandria, Va.-based multi-biometric technology provider, is providing the algorithms for latent fingerprinting and palm-print matching for the third phase of development, Lockheed said. A fingerprint-matching algorithm from the company already is powering NGIS.

NGIS will over a period of time replace the FBI's current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which Lockheed has supported since it went live in 1999. The new system matches fingerprints according to 10-print matching, which gives it an accuracy rate of more than 99% versus the legacy system's 92% accuracy, officials have said.

In addition to beginning the third phase of development, Lockheed is nearly finished with NGIS' second phase, an overhaul and enhancement of law-enforcement search capabilities for the FBI's wanted persons database, it said.

The Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC) includes people the FBI is seeking for crimes, including suspected terrorists, people in sex offender registries, and other persons of special interest to the agency. Once completed, law-enforcement agencies can use the repository to search through and match information on persons of interest more quickly and efficiently than before, according to Lockheed.

A fourth phase of NGIS will add facial-recognition capability, as well as allow for searches and matches of identifying scars and tattoos. Lockheed also is conducting a fifth-phase pilot to add iris-matching capabilities to the system. The FBI can decide at a later stage to add this capability to NGIS if it chooses to do so, the company said.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributing Writer

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer, journalist, and therapeutic writing mentor with more than 25 years of professional experience. Her areas of expertise include technology, business, and culture. Elizabeth previously lived and worked as a full-time journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City; she currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, hiking with her dogs, traveling, playing music, yoga, and cooking.

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