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The future of biometrics examined at Fairmont Conference


The conference “Next Step in Identity Technologies: Biometrics and Beyond” was held last month in Fairmont, WV to discuss the future of biometrics in the country. Biometric studies and technologies is a growing industry in the United States.

Harrison County is home to one of the biometrics and fingerprint identification facilities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). West Virginia University has a Center for Identification Technology Research, which is dedicated to the advancement of biometric studies and development of new technologies. And lastly, the Criminal Justice Information Science (CJIS) Division of the FBI is also located within the local area.

The FBI’s top brass, Dave Cuthbertson, spoke at the event and stated that West Virginia housed more than 2,600 CJIS personnel. The division provides the criminal justice information sharing capabilities to other law enforcement agencies scattered around the country. The division essentially maintains the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) biometrics database and also runs background checks on guns and other firearms.

The bureau hopes to expand its palm print database to help with crime solving as it accounts for at least 30 percent of all latent prints taken from a crime scene. Currently, only 25 states have a palm print databases and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is working hard to create a national database that will contain all palm prints collected.

Col. Douglas Flohr, Deputy Director for Operations of the Biometric Identity Management Agency (BIMA) at the Defense Department was also on hand to speak at the conference. He says that though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming to an end, the work of the agency is far from over:

This division of the Defense Department is continually looking for long-term solutions to apply biometrics to the battlefield.

What were your number one takeaways from the Fairmont Conference?

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