Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

2018

Journal or Book Title

Annals of Applied Statistics

Volume

12

Issue

2

First Page

771

Last Page

787

DOI

10.1214/18-AOAS1140

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which data support the source attributions made by fingerprint examiners. It challenges the assumption that each person’s fingerprints are unique, but finds that evidence of persistence of an individual’s fingerprints is better founded. The use of the AFIS (Automatic Fingerprint Identification System) is problematic, because the algorithms used are proprietary. Additionally, the databases used in conjunction with AFIS are incomplete and not public. Finally, and most crucially, the finding of similarities between the mark found at a crime scene and a fingerprint on file does not permit estimation of the number of persons in a given population who share those characteristics. Consequently, there is no scientific basis for a source attribution; whether phrased as a “match,” as “individualization” or otherwise.

Comments

This article is published as Kadane, Joseph B. "Fingerprint science." The Annals of Applied Statistics 12, no. 2 (2018): 771-787. Posted with permission of CSAFE.

Copyright Owner

Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Share

COinS