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: Samsung introduces EYECAN+, next-generation mouse for people with disabilities

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Namibia prepares for Africa's first e-vote

6 hours ago

Namibia will vote in Africa's first electronic ballot Friday, a general election that will usher in a new president and quotas to put more women in government.

GoGlove wearable aims to control life's soundtracks

8 hours ago

Technology creatives are seeing the key attraction in wearables as being in solutions that save the user from fumbling around with the phone to make app adjustments or changes, or from repeatedly taking it ...

Amazon cuts Fire phone price to ignite sales

8 hours ago

Amazon on Wednesday slashed the price of Fire mobile phones that stalled after launch early this year, becoming a drag on the US online retail titan's bottom line.

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.