The FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) system will improve law enforcement’s capabilities as much as DNA analysis, according to Dave Cuthbertson, assistant director, Criminal Justice information Services Division, FBI.
The NGI advances the FBI’s biometric identification services, providing an incremental replacement of the current system while introducing new functionality. The NGI improvements and new capabilities are being introduced across a multiyear timeframe within a phased approach.
Increment three, which will be deployed in April, will improve accuracy in part by adding palm prints. About one-third of prints recovered from a crime scene are from the palm rather than the fingers, Cuthbertson reports, while serving on the Biometrics/Identity Management panel at AFCEA’s Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C. “NGI will be to crime solving almost like DNA processing,” he stated.
The agency already has implemented the first two increments, which increased accuracy from 92 percent to 99.6 percent. Additionally, increment two allows officers in the field to use mobile devices to send back biometric data to be checked against information in the repository.
The fourth and final increment will add more than 13 million mug shots, which will be matched against fingerprints. Cuthbertson said the facial system likely will not provide law enforcement with one definite match but will instead provide a list of possible matches, which law enforcement officials will then have to analyze and investigate further.
Eleven states currently participate in the system, and 13 are working toward participation.
The departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security continue to improve the interoperability of their various biometric databases and are now down to budgetary and policy issues more than technical. Cuthbertson said he disagrees with calls for all three agencies to implement one over-arching system because each department has different missions.