FBI deploys faster fingerprint ID system

Next-gen identification system cuts fingerprint search speeds from hours to minutes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new next-generation fingerprint identification system has begun initial operation and is expected to deliver faster and more accurate results than the current system, officials said March 8.

The Next Generation Identification System provides automated fingerprint and latent search capabilities, storage and electronic data exchange. The ID system also has new features for storing and exchanging additional biometric data, such as facial and iris data. It is being phased in to replace the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which the FBI has been using since 1999.

The next-generation system is now supporting 18,000 law enforcement agencies 24 hours a day year-round, the FBI said in a news release.

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FBI awards NGI contract to Lockheed Martin

Initial FBI engineering tests on the new system showed that for high-priority criminal cases a fingerprint search on the next-generation system took 10 minutes vs. two hours for IAFIS.

The new system was designed and built by Lockheed Martin Corp. under a contract awarded in 2008. Kiinberly Jaindl, a spokewoman for Lockheed Martin, said the next-generation system has demonstrated an accuracy rate of more than 99 percent compared to the IAFIS accuracy rate of around 92 percent. Furthermore, she said, average response time for criminal fingerprint checks is about six minutes.

The new system matches 10 fingerprints and can store and exchange palm print data and other biometric data, such as voice, iris or facial recognition data, the FBI said.

“The implementation announced today represents a tremendous achievement in enhancing our identification services. Already, we’re seeing how the NGI system is revolutionizing fingerprint identification in support of the FBI’s mission,” said Louis Grever, executive assistant director, FBI Science and Technology Branch in the news release.

The next-generation program also has delivered advanced workstations to the FBI’s fingerprint examiner staff, which include larger display screens with higher resolution and more accurate color.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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