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Portland Police will now carry finger print scanners

This article , published in the oregonian, talks about how 15 portland police will now start carrying a portable finger printing device that, when a suspects fingerprint is scanned,it will run a query against the national FBI (or whichever local FBI database) fingerprint database.
They claim that this will reduce overhead in the department and save money. What I don't understand ( and maybe if a cop that reads this message box could explain) is how this is so. If a suspect fingerprint is scanned and turns up positive to whatever warrent or whatever reason, won't they still need to take them downtown and finger print them again? Where are they really going to save money....

Also, many people will think that for sure this is a 100% secure solution. The problem is that more and more people and the authorities are "trusting trust" -- what if the information in the computer is wrong? There are many technical problems with this solution, but also, humans can make mistakes also. I've know about people who got out of jailed because ... they were arrested, finger printed, and their prints where wrong because the first time they were printed they used a different fake name, and they were bailed out and never showed up to the court date. This device in my opinion makes the problem even worse, and takes the control away from a police officer. ( also you can just fake your prints other ways to)

This same device also does facial recognition. I hear that doesn't work well on Japanese or Chinese people.

I have a feeling this device will be used on people who haven't yet committed a crime, because the police will find out later on that its almost completely useless for the reasons its intended for right now.


Police Get Power to Check Prints On The Spot

Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian

Portland police may soon be asking for more than a license when making a traffic stop, but also requesting a motorist to stick out a thumb and forefinger.

Next month, more than a dozen officers will carry handheld devices on the street that will allow them to instantly verify a person's identity by analyzing their fingerprints.

The Portland Police Bureau was awarded a $250,000 federal COPS grant to equip each of its five precincts with a device and distribute another 10 to investigative officers in the detective, gang enforcement, drugs and vice, and tactical operations divisions.

The Minnesota-based Identix manufactures the technology, which captures fingerprints at the scene and remotely transmits them to a database. The Portland police will run the prints against the FBI's automated fingerprint database, and a database of seven Western states, known as the Western Identification Network.

If there is a match, the system returns the person's name, date of birth and mug shot directly to the officer's handheld terminal, the size of a Palm Pilot. Then the officer can check the person's criminal history and search for any outstanding warrants.

Manufacturers and police tout the time it could save officers, keeping them from needlessly transporting suspects to a police precinct or jail to fingerprint them.

"With shrinking budgets and shrinking staff, we need to capitalize on emerging technology," said Capt. Greg Hendricks, of the bureau's identification division.

Within a year, the bureau intends to expand the pilot purchase of 15 to more than 300 terminals for all patrol officers, under $650,000 set aside for the Portland police by the U.S. Department of Justice and recently approved by Congress.

The devices will also give officers on horseback, bicycles and motorcycles, who do not have the mobile computer terminals that patrol officers have at their fingertips, the ability to access information on people they stop.

"It speeds up the process for the officer to confirm who they've stopped, and reduces mistaken identities on arrests," said Sgt. Jeff Kaer of the bureau's identification division.

Next week, the bureau has invited representatives from 15 police agencies, sheriff's offices and federal law enforcement in the metropolitan area to learn about the handheld fingerprinting device and gauge if there's interest in integrating them into a regional database that could give officers in the field immediate access to criminal histories on suspects in a four-county region. The counties include Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark.

"If we integrated this system regionally, all of the agencies could share information with each other," Kaer said. "As you know, crime doesn't stop at the city line."

The City Council is expected to approve the bureau's contract with Identix at its meeting next week.

The same handheld device is also capable of facial recognition, a an emerging technology now used by a number of law enforcement agencies to find wanted criminals whose faces are in databases. Border patrol agencies have used the facial-recognition component to run the faces of people coming into the country against a database of photos of suspected terrorists.

homepage: homepage: http://www.policeone.com/policeone/frontend/parser.cfm?object=News&operation=full_news&id=61781

Terrifying. 27.Apr.2003 20:05

George Orwell

Read "The End of Privacy." This is terrifying.

the machine will eat itself 27.Apr.2003 20:19

republic of cascadia citizen

your creativity will set you free!

Gummi bears defeat fingerprint sensors
By John Leyden
Posted: 16/05/2002 at 12:29 GMT

A Japanese cryptographer has demonstrated how fingerprint recognition devices can be fooled using a combination of low cunning, cheap kitchen supplies and a digital camera.

First Tsutomu Matsumoto used gelatine (as found in Gummi Bears and other sweets) and a plastic mould to create a fake finger, which he found fooled fingerprint detectors four times out of five.

Flushed with his success, he took latent fingerprints from a glass, which he enhanced with a cyanoacrylate adhesive (super-glue fumes) and photographed with a digital camera. Using PhotoShop, he improved the contrast of the image and printed the fingerprint onto a transparency sheet.

Here comes the clever bit.

Matsumoto took a photo-sensitive printed-circuit board (which can be found in many electronic hobby shops) and used the fingerprint transparency to etch the fingerprint into the copper.

From this he made a gelatine finger using the print on the PCB, using the same process as before. Again this fooled fingerprint detectors about 80 per cent of the time.

Fingerprint biometric devices, which attempt to identify people on the basis of their fingerprint, are touted as highly secure and almost impossible to fool but Matsumoto's work calls this comforting notion into question. The equipment he used is neither particularly hi-tech, nor expensive and if Matsumoto can pull off the trick what would corporate espionage boffins be capable of?

Matsumoto tried these attacks against eleven commercially available fingerprint biometric systems, and was able to reliably fool all of them.

Noted cryptographer Bruce Schneier, the founder and CTO of Counterpane Internet Security, described Matsumoto's work as more than impressive.

"The results are enough to scrap the systems completely, and to send the various fingerprint biometric companies packing," said Schneier in yesterday's edition of his Crypto-Gram newsletter, which first publicised the issue.

legality??? 27.Apr.2003 20:53



can we get someone to explain the legality of these devices.

i.e. under what circumstances are the polic permitted to demand a fingerprint? in the past they needed to detain individuals (arrest and take them into the station. ala "book'em dano.")

what now?
forced fingerprints at critical mass?

i can see this technology abused by the police.
it is important as always with new technology to understand the legal implications.

the popo are stupid, but... 27.Apr.2003 20:57


the popo are stupid, but don't you think they'd notice if your fingers were made out of gummi bears?

a word to the wise. If you do make fake gummi fingers, DON'T USE TRE'S PRINTS!

That's funny 27.Apr.2003 21:29

crafty Asian

"This same device also does facial recognition. I hear that doesn't work well on Japanese or Chinese people."

That's funny. The device must be a stupid white "device."

Fingerprints 27.Apr.2003 22:19

Tree Topper

Well pinger prints are a great tool for Police to use. Finger printing is the number one reason most people have been found guilty or placed at the crime.

Because of this people have always searched for the best way to mask their own prints. Some have cut them, burnt them, used acid, ect. However, this doen't work at least not how the person wanted it to work. The print is left because of water, oils, and materials being deposited by touching another object. So if you have burt away your normal print you have now created another print. All the police have to do is match the print left behind with the print on your finger. If you don't want to leave a print why not just wear gloves.

As for PPB using handheld print devices, I would have to say that he or she would have to have a reason to get your prints. An officer can't just make you give him/her your ID, name date of birth without a reason. Now this reason would have to be because you have violated a law or city ordanance.

Now for the finger printing everytime you go to the county jail, I don't know how MCSO does there processing. Most places if you have already been printed by them won't print you again.


Saving money?? 28.Apr.2003 08:22


I don't know all the in's and out's, but I'd guess the money saving and reduced overhead come from greater speed and efficiency. It's a stretch, but if we assume the need for finger printing, being able to do so accurately at the scene, without having to go 'downtown' would be a net time saver.

The old system amounted to mailing a card to the FBI which did some form of manual match against fingerprint records. Being essentially a manual system, it was slow and cumbersome.

When these electronic devices first came out, one of the blurbs used in their favor was ... "Under the old system, imagine some rural county sheriff having to release a suspect, only to discover, when their fingerprint match came back from the FBI that they'd just released Jack the Ripper".

Ignore, for the moment, all the presumptions inherent in that statement. On a purely systemic level, you gain a lot of speed in turnaround, hence save time and money.

Legality 28.Apr.2003 10:24


Tree topper said that the police would have to have a reason to demand a citizen's prints, just as they "can't just make you give him/her your ID, name, date of birth without a reason."

Tree topper needs to come to the next indy video showing. Because although the police are not supposed to do that, they are famous for abusing their authority. In one recent example, a man was standing on a sidewalk holding a sign. In America, that's still legal. (At least for now.)

Anyway, he was standing there holding a sign when the possum truck rolled up with all the baby riot cops clinging to the sides. They were there to protect downtown from the scourge of jaywalking. Thank goodness! They came tumbling off the truck, followed by the bike patrol. (What's up with them? They used to be "good cop.")

In the midst of protecting Our Way of Life by taking down several jaywalkers, an officer approached the man holding the sign, even though he had never left the sidewalk, and had not done anything illegal. The officer demanded his ID. He said he didn't have ID, so the officer demanded that he give his name. When he questioned why, the officer threw him to the ground. He was beaten by several officers while handcuffed, he was struck in the head with a metal cannister which he was also pepper sprayed with. His face was ground into the pavement. Eventually, after this display of PDX prowess in the face of unarmed citizens, he was arrested and jailed. Why? Because he used his right to refuse to give ID to an officer who had no reason to arrest or detain him.

This entire incident was documented by several video cameras from several different angles. You can see it all in a short video at the Videos of the Resistnace showings.

So you see, they can't demand your name, ID, fingerprints, DNA without cause. But they do. Let's not give them any more authority to abuse than they already have.

The good with the bad 28.Apr.2003 11:13

Tree Topper

CatWoman, fingerprinting is a form of ID and yes the Police would need a reason to ask you for your prints. The Police can always ask you for your ID. Hoever, unless you have commited a violation or higher than you the citizen doesn't have to give or show ID. Also, there is no law that you have to show ID unless you have been pulled over in a vehicle. ID's are owned by the DMV, they are for driving not walking or anyother form of transportation you use. However, if an officer has the legal right to obtain your ID you should give him your ID not someone elses or a made up one. I can tell you that he or she will find out that you have not told the truth.

For the J-walking, I don't know of an ORS that list J-Walking. The only think I can think of is Failure to obey traffic control device 814.020. This would apply if you cross an intersection with a Walk or Don't Walk indicator and you cross on the Don't Walk.