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Congress

New FBI System To Use Hands, Faces, Irises, In Addition To Fingerprints To ID Suspects

March 16, 2011

If you get stopped by the police in Houston, it will take them just 16 seconds to compare your fingerprints to the 2 million that are in a database of terrorists, sex offenders, criminals with outstanding arrest warrants and others.

The Repository for Individuals of Special Concern system is part of the FBI's new nationwide Next-Generation Identification system that eventually will employ a host of new technologies to more quickly and accurately identify criminal suspects, Nextgov.com reported.

"Most criminals don't carry IDs, or if they do, they're fake IDs," said John Traxler, NGI program manager at the FBI's criminal justice information services division. The new identification system enables police officers to use a handheld fingerprint reader to send prints through a squad car's radio to the FBI's database and learn almost instantly whether there is a match.

If not, don't relax yet. Your prints also can be compared to 70 million stored in a much larger database. That will take about 30 minutes.

For now, the NGI system, which began operating Feb. 25, handles fingerprints only. But during the next several years, new biometric capabilities will be added to make identification possible through facial recognition technology, iris patterns, and digital photographs of scars, tattoos and other physical markings. To read more, click here.

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