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From the Inkpad to the Mousepad: IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System) and Fingerprint Technology at the Dawn of the 21st Century

NCJ Number
E C Johnson
Date Published
8 pages
This paper traces the development of the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which will become operational in July 1999, describes its features, and explains how it will interact with local and State fingerprint processing and retrieval.
In July 1999, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation will be able to access the IAFIS, a national on-line fingerprint and criminal history database with identification and response capabilities considered unattainable less than a decade ago. Justice agencies that now wait several weeks for the FBI to respond to identification requests will have the same information in their hands in just 2 hours when requests are submitted to IAFIS electronically. Agencies that submit identification requests for non-criminal-justice use such as pre-employment background checks and licensing purposes will have the information returned to them in only 24 hours when submitted electronically. IAFIS will allow the FBI to process 62,000 10- print searches per day, more than enough capability to respond to the 51,000 fingerprint cards that are currently submitted daily to the FBI. IAFIS consists of three basic integrated segments: the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the Interstate Identification Index, and Identification Tasking and Networking. This paper details how IAFIS will work when operational, traces the origins of IAFIS in the development of fingerprint and information-processing technology, and describes a previous pilot project and current State transmissions of fingerprint files (California, Georgia, and Florida). Although IAFIS will assume some operational capacity beginning in July 1999, its completion as a national system (as opposed to a Federal system) depends on States' upgrading their internal fingerprint services so they can contribute and receive images and data in a timely fashion. 9 notes