Cole, Simon A. Department of Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine, California.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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- Forensic fingerprint evidence
- Legal challenges
- High-profile errors
- Toward a new paradigm of forensic fingerprint identification
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A method of biometric identification that exploits the variability of friction ridge skin, the skin on primate fingertips. Fingerprint identification is a widely used and trusted method of biometric identification (Fig. 1). Historically, the two primary uses of fingerprint identification have been for criminal record keeping and for forensic identification. Fingerprints are also used for civil identification purposes, such as controlling access to government benefits, keeping motor vehicle records, and immigration control, and access to devices (for example, smartphones) and secure areas (for example, electronic security checkpoints). As a result of recent innovations in fingerprint scanners, fingerprints are being used increasingly for identification and security purposes. See also: Biometric technologies; Criminalistics; Epidermal ridges; Skin
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