Beyond the Individuality of Fingerprints: A Measure of Simulated Computer Latent Print Source Attribution Accuracy

Posted: 6 May 2009

See all articles by Simon A. Cole

Simon A. Cole

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Max Welling

University of California, Irvine

Rachel Dioso-Villa

Griffith University - School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Robert A Carpenter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 2008

Abstract

Efforts to harness computer fingerprint databases to perform studies relevant to fingerprint identification have tended to focus on 10-print, rather than latent print, identification or on the inherent individuality of fingerprint images. This paper reports on three experiments that measure the accuracy of a computer fingerprint matcher at identifying the source of simulated latent prints. The first experiment used rolled prints supplied by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to simulate latent prints. The second experiment used our own manufactured latent prints. The third experiment used latent prints supplied by NIST. An Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) was used to simulate the task that a human latent print examiner is typically asked to perform as part of ordinary casework. The AFIS performed this task, for which it was not designed, fairly well. However, there are non-mate images that scored very highly on the AFIS's similarity measure. These images would be susceptible to erroneous conclusions that would be given with a very high degree of confidence. Not surprisingly, the same was also true of the simulated latents which contained less information. We suggest that measuring the accuracy and potential for erroneous conclusions for AFISs might provide a basis for comparison between human examiners and automated systems at performing various identification tasks. Such comparisons might stimulate competition, innovation and improvement in the performance of these tasks.

Keywords: biometrics, error analysis, fingerprint identification, latent prints

Suggested Citation

Cole, Simon A. and Welling, Max and Dioso-Villa, Rachel and Carpenter, Robert A, Beyond the Individuality of Fingerprints: A Measure of Simulated Computer Latent Print Source Attribution Accuracy (September 2008). Law, Probability & Risk, Vol. 7, Issue 3, pp. 165-189, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1397953 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lpr/mgn004

Simon A. Cole (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697
949-824-1443 (Phone)
949-824-3001 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.seweb.uci.edu/faculty/cole/

Max Welling

University of California, Irvine

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Rachel Dioso-Villa

Griffith University - School of Criminology and Criminal Justice ( email )

Australia

Robert A Carpenter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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