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FBI’s new NGI system leads to faster and more accurate responses


The FBI said that its new biometric identification system, Next Generation Identification, has resulted in faster and more accurate matches in the criminal history record database.

Reported earlier this month, the FBI’s biometric identification system, Next Generation Identification, is now in full operational capability phase and replaced the previous repository for fingerprints entitled Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

The new biometric identification system has already seen considerable improvements in accuracy rates on queries, which can be attributed to the new technology and algorithms that allow users to effectively search more than 100 million records.

Additionally, fingerprint matches are now more than 99 percent accurate, while matches on latent prints are now more than an 81% accuracy rate compared to the 27% accuracy rate that was achieved with the old IAFIS system.

“NGI gives us this opportunity to not only upgrade and enhance technology that we’ve been using for years, but it also lets us leverage new technology that can help us do our jobs better,” said Steve Morris, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which runs NGI.

There have been several enhancements made under the new NGI system. Police can now take two fingerprints from a subject and remotely query the subset Repository for Individuals of Special Concern via a mobile device for instant results.

With National Palm Print System, NGI expanded beyond traditional finger and thumbprint capabilities to include palms. One latent palm print returned a match earlier this month, said Morris.

Launched earlier this year, NGI’s Rap Back enables those agencies that conduct background checks on individuals who hold positions of trust to be alerted if the individual is involved in any criminal activity.

And finally, Interstate Photo System, which was launched this year, is a new facial recognition capability that enables officials to search millions of mug shots or images associated with criminal identities for potential matches.

The FBI also assures the public that the NGI’s new enhancements safeguard privacy and protects their rights and civil liberties.

The enhancements adhere to the same thorough security protections, access limitations, and quality control standards that are already enforced with IAFIS. A comprehensive privacy impact assessment must be completed and sent to Department of Justice for each enhancement under NGI.

The FBI also said that the facial recognition system is not connected to the Internet or social networks or your local Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Facial recognition doesn’t mean that we somehow now have this ability to go out and start collecting video feeds,” said Morris. “That’s not what this is about. It’s a technology that allows us to digitally compare criminal mug shot photos that we have in our database against one another.”

For more information about the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system, read our report “NGI: A closer look at the FBI’s billion-dollar biometric program“.

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