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Study Finds Fingerprint-Matching Systems Accurate

August 05, 2004  | 

Computerized fingerprint comparison systems are accurate 99 percent of the time, according to a new study conducted in accordance with the PATRIOT Act.

To fulfill requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act, Computer scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tested 34 commercially available systems provided by 18 companies from around the world.

The test used operational fingerprints from a variety of U.S. and state government sources. Performance varied depending on how many fingerprints from a given individual were being matched. The best system was accurate 98.6 percent of the time on two-finger tests and 99.9 percent of the time for tests involving four or more fingers.

The Justice Management Division of the U.S. Department of Justice funded the study in connection with its efforts to integrate the fingerprint systems operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.

To view the first of a series of reports on the testing visit

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