Computerized fingerprint matching is accurate more than 99 percent of the time

Jul 16, 2004
nist-fingerprint

Computerized systems that automatically match fingerprints have become so sophisticated that the best of them are accurate more than 99 percent of the time, according to the most comprehensive known study of the systems ever conducted. Computer scientists at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tested 34 commercially available systems provided by 18 companies from around the world. NIST conducted the testing to evaluate the accuracy of fingerprint matching for identification and verification systems.

While law enforcement agencies long have employed automated fingerprint matching devices, they are used increasingly in biometric systems to make national borders more secure. NIST conducted the study to fulfill requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act.

The test used operational fingerprints from a variety of U.S. and state government sources. A total of 48,105 sets of fingerprints from 25,309 people, with a total of 393,370 distinct fingerprint images, were used to enable thorough testing.

The most accurate systems were from NEC of Japan, SAGEM of France and Cogent, an American company. The performance of these three systems was comparable. The 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 single-finger tests, 99.6 percent of the time on two-finger tests, and 99.9 percent of the time for tests involving four or more fingers. These accuracies were obtained for a false positive rate of 0.01 percent.

Researchers found that the number of fingers used and fingerprint quality affected the accuracy of the systems. Prints from additional fingers greatly improved accuracy, and the greatest gains were seen when graduating from a single finger to two 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.

Explore further: Kyocera to bring solar farm transformation to idle golf course

Related Stories

Tech Tips: Stay safe by reducing reliance on passwords

Jun 17, 2015

Mix upper and lower case letters in your password? Substitute the numeral 1 for the letter l? Throw in an exclamation point and other special characters? Who can remember all that for dozens of websites and ...

Recommended for you

Solar Impulse 2 pilot becomes aviation legend

Jul 04, 2015

At 62 years of age, Swiss Solar Impulse 2 pilot Andre Borschberg has made aviation history with a record breaking solo flight across the Pacific that he has called "an interior journey".

Facegloria: Facebook for Brazil's Evangelicals

Jul 04, 2015

Fluffy clouds waft across a blue sky as you log in and while you chat with friends, Gospel music rings out: welcome to Facegloria, the social network for Brazilian Evangelicals.

Mexico City proposes regulations for Uber

Jul 04, 2015

Mexico City is proposing regulations that would allow Uber and other smartphone-based ride-sharing apps to operate, while requiring drivers and cars to be registered, the city's Office of Legal and Legislative Studies said ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.