Recent terrorist attacks in countries such as the United States and Spain expose the degree to which most nations have neglected the value of “human intelligence” in fighting terrorist threats, opting instead to rely more on indirect technological approaches towards collecting intelligence.
Such strategies, like communication interception and satellite surveillance, are certainly useful, but a more effective approach to combating the problem of global terrorism would be through the automated identification of suspicious individuals by law enforcement.
Unfortunately, with traditional passports and travel documents being easily forged and manipulated, collecting reliable, truthful, and relevant information about individuals is difficult.
Biometric identification solves these problems entirely. However, even the most advanced biometrically based information collection system would be of little benefit to the intelligence community without widespread deployment to those security personnel who would be best able to leverage such information.
Recognizing this important need, our team has designed a mobile biometric identification system to provide the ability for law enforcement and security personnel to quickly and accurately retrieve important information about individuals in the field using multimodal biometrics.
Biometric technologies are on the verge of wide-scale deployment, with fingerprinting being the most researched and proven method in the field. Digital fingerprinting equipment has fallen in price dramatically in the past few years, making the opportunity available to deploy digital biometric systems en masse for the very first time.
Previous fingerprinting databases relied on human intervention to catalog and compare prints manually for matches, a very expensive and laborious process. Just recently, the United States Department of Homeland Security has introduced a fully automated fingerprint matching system known as US-VISITi.
This system has the capability to match against a very large data base of fingerprints and return information about individuals in a matter of seconds. Therefore, it seems natural to develop a low cost mobile solution, either to replace or supplement biometric systems such as US-VISIT and IAFIS. We propose developing a system that can quickly identify individuals via a mobile device using only a person’s fingerprint.
The purpose of the device is to connect to an off-site computer database of fingerprints via some network communications link, and submit a person’s fingerprint for identification. The database would then check for a matching fingerprint and return any information stored on that person. Our team believes law enforcement personnel would be greatly aided by making such fingerprint identification clients highly mobile, secure, inexpensive, and easy to use.
These systems would then be deployed to airports, ports of entry, and various law enforcement and government agencies. By allowing border agents, airport security, coast guard, and other law enforcement officers to identify people in the field instantaneously, potential terrorists and criminals can be identified and apprehended anywhere an officer has the ability to carry a handheld computer. We hope the potential benefits of such a system are self-evident.
Source: Santa Clara University
Author: Tomas Bulka, Chaitanya Agarwal and Pavel Pozdnyakov