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Why your fingerprints may not be unique

fingerprints unique forensic flawed

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:17 PM

Fingerprint evidence linking criminals to crime scenes has played a fundamental role in convictions in Britain since the first forensic laboratory was set up in Scotland Yard in 1901.

But the basic assumption that everyone has a unique fingerprint from which they can be quickly identified through a computer database is flawed, an expert has claimed.

http://www.telegraph...-be-unique.html

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#2    Child of Bast

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:45 PM

While I enjoy television programmes like CSI, I know that they have really affected people's outlook on court trials and what they expect to happen.

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#3    :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR:

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 11:48 AM

Why not have the database run for identical prints in its own system. If a match is found that belongs to more than a unique individual, then it means fingerprints may not be identical.

Besides, any booked person has their entire 10 digits inked anyway. What are the odds of two individuals having the same fingerprints on all 10 fingers?

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#4    seeder

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 01:17 PM

Crims cant really defeat dna testing tho can they? In the UK if youre charged for 'some types' of offence they take prints and dna swabs anyway.

Besides if youre a known crim with a habit of burglary, and hey ho your dabs are found at a burglary, then thats usually good enough to link you to the crime, having said that though, I expect most burglars to wear gloves, it would seem to make sense wouldn't it?

I also read an article a while back about a burglar being caught by his ear print, he pressed his ear against the window to listen if anyone was in, and the print was perfect!

And this article suggest ear prints/shape may be better full stop!

Ears Could Make Better Unique IDs Than Fingerprints
http://www.wired.com...identification/

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#5    Sundew

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:19 PM

About a year or so ago I read where someone studying snowflakes found two that were identical. As kids we were always told that, "No two snowflakes are ever alike." But that seems not to be the case in real like, and I suppose that makes sense since there are probably only so many ways you can arrange a six sided ice crystal. The "no to alike" was based on the fact that, up until that time, no one had FOUND two alike, but considering the trillions and trillions of snowflakes all over the world at any one time, the odds were that yes, somewhere there are at least two alike. Frankly I can't imagine a more boring job than to look through tens of thousands of microscope slides looking for identical snowflakes, beautiful as they are. I hope they used computer software!

Fingerprints may be the same way: there are only so many ways to arrange the swirls and lines on the square centimeter or so of a fingertip. However, the odds of someone committing a crime and another individual being blamed for that crime by having identical fingerprints would be remote in the extreme, two such individuals might not even live on the same continent. Plus as already stated, forensics uses DNA evidence and a host of other data gathering to catch criminals. No two humans except identical twins (or as we move into the future, clones) share the same DNA, and even identical twins do not have identical fingerprints according to what I have read.


#6    Asadora

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:20 PM

View Postseeder, on 22 April 2014 - 01:17 PM, said:

Crims cant really defeat dna testing tho can they? In the UK if youre charged for 'some types' of offence they take prints and dna swabs anyway.

Besides if youre a known crim with a habit of burglary, and hey ho your dabs are found at a burglary, then thats usually good enough to link you to the crime, having said that though, I expect most burglars to wear gloves, it would seem to make sense wouldn't it?

I also read an article a while back about a burglar being caught by his ear print, he pressed his ear against the window to listen if anyone was in, and the print was perfect!

And this article suggest ear prints/shape may be better full stop!

Ears Could Make Better Unique IDs Than Fingerprints
http://www.wired.com...identification/

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#7    Twinkle Arora is back

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:56 PM

View Post:PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR:, on 22 April 2014 - 11:48 AM, said:

Why not have the database run for identical prints in its own system. If a match is found that belongs to more than a unique individual, then it means fingerprints may not be identical.

Besides, any booked person has their entire 10 digits inked anyway. What are the odds of two individuals having the same fingerprints on all 10 fingers?

You have a point, but even if the odds of that are very low and then multiplying that with the number of times the attempts are made to scan the prints per unit time (including all ten fingerprints) can make it a reasonable occurrence,
But then again I don't have the data and the stats to calculate this, but that can provide a reasonable answer to this problem and maybe you are right as it may be next to impossible or it may not be.


#8    zeek wulfe

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:10 PM

Back before the earth's crust cooled, I was a court  approved fingerprint expert.  I also taught the Henry system of fingerprint identification and classification to crime scene investigators.  It is true that fingerprints can be 'forged' by deceitful investigators, but in the normal course of things these forgeries rarely happen.  I never came across a case where it had been done.  Fingerprints are classified by shape and location on the hand.  There are:  loops, ulnar and radial, whorls, inner and outer, arches, plain and tented.  These are commonly found on the fingertips, but some people have these features on their toes as well.  Palm prints might have 'deltas' but no loops or whorls, or, conversely,  there might be a seres of whorls with no visible deltas.  There are also ridge endings and enclosures.  I once examined the prints of identical twins.  One twin would do the crime and the other was often identified in a lineup.  This happened several times.  It ended after an examination of the prints.  Even on identical twins the prints were not even close.


#9    GS1981

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:36 PM

Do identical twins have unique finger prints?


#10    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:43 PM

View PostGS1981, on 22 April 2014 - 05:36 PM, said:

Do identical twins have unique finger prints?

Yes

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#11    TheGreatBeliever

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 01:30 PM

Of cos they r. Billions of us yet not one is same


#12    zeek wulfe

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 06:03 PM

May I say that if a person wants to make a comment, no matter the topic, clear and concise English is most helpful.  Truncated words and grammer are a sign of poor education.  Sophisticated people flee to the exits when confronted by this trendy rubbish.  You want to learn about fingerprints and fingerprinting?  Ask me, I'm an expert with many years experience.


#13    zeek wulfe

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 06:11 PM

The black and white photograph of two fingers at the top of this article are fingers #3 & 4.  Number 3 in an ulnar loop with a "0" value and number 4 is a whorl with a "0" value.  If the fingers were of the left hand then #3 would be #8 a 'radial' with a "0" value...very unusual with only a small percentage of the population having that feature especially in conjunction with the neighboring whorl.


#14    pallidin

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 03:41 PM

I agree. Since no global analysis has ever been done, it's absurd to conclude that no 2 fingerprints are the same.

Now, a highly specific abnormality(think "scar line" from a pevious cut, or an open wound on the finger tip during the altercation) might be a whole different story, as the odds of two people having identical fingerprints AND identical fingerprint scar line(s) would pressumably be astronomical at best.

Come to think of it, fingerprints ALONE (zero other evidence), even on a murder weapon, is usually not enough for a conviction without substantive circumstantial evidence.

Just my opinion, though. I'm no expert on legal issues.

Edited by pallidin, 27 April 2014 - 03:42 PM.


#15    DieChecker

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 02:33 AM

View PostGS1981, on 22 April 2014 - 05:36 PM, said:

Do identical twins have unique finger prints?

My identical twin brother and I don't have matching fingerprints. Close, but not identical. Even if you take the occasional scar away.

I'm voting with Psychotic, even if there are 2 or 3 matches to a single print in a database, that makes investigating a lot easier then starting off with 50,000 people.

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