chapter  2
15 Pages

Fingerprint biometrics

ByMarcus Smith, Monique Mann, Gregor Urbas

The subtle ridges and valleys of the skin on the tips of the fingers were the first form of biometric to be developed for systematic human identification. In the early twentieth century, fingerprints were obtained by rolling an inked finger on paper. This chapter examines the development and application of digital fingerprint identification in a range of contexts, including law enforcement, border security and, to some extent, the private sector. It begins with a discussion of the scientific and historical development of fingerprint identification, tracing its advancement to its status today, as arguably the most widely used and accepted form of biometric identification in operation. The chapter discusses the establishment of fingerprint databases in a law enforcement setting, and then in broader contexts that have developed more recently, such as border security purposes. It also discusses the broader applications of fingerprint identification, focusing on its use in criminal investigations, border security, as well as banking, communications and firearms industries.