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: Socially-assistive robots help kids with autism learn by providing personalized prompts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alibaba's revenue growth surges in latest quarter

1 hour ago

Alibaba's quarterly revenue growth is surging again, a development that should help the Chinese e-commerce company sell its shares in what could become the technology industry's most lucrative IPO.

Intel says world's smallest 3G modem has been launched

1 hour ago

Analysts say why not. Intel is going after its own comfortable stake in the mobile market, where connectivity for wearables and "Internet of Things" household items will be in high demand. Intel on Tuesday ...

Recommended for you

Watching others play video games is the new spectator sport

3 hours ago

As the UK's largest gaming festival, Insomnia, wrapped up its latest event on August 25, I watched a short piece of BBC Breakfast news reporting from the festival. The reporter and some of the interviewees appeared baff ...

Avatars make the Internet sign to deaf people

4 hours ago

It is challenging for deaf people to learn a sound-based language, since they are physically not able to hear those sounds. Hence, most of them struggle with written language as well as with text reading ...

User comments : 0