FBI Activates New Biometric Identification System

Called Next Generation Identification (NGI), it is a state-of-the-art digital platform of biometric and other types of identity information. NGI includes more than 30 million digitized records—and as many as 83 million digitized fingerprint cards. It replaces the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).Fingerprint_Search

The conversion from manual to digital systems began more than two decades ago when paper files outgrew the space at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. They were shipped to West Virginia, where the FBI built a campus in Clarksburg in 1992 for its Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. In 2010 , CJIS broke ground on a new Biometric Technology Center and redoubled its efforts to digitize  the files.  The digitization of 8.8 million files in two years added more data points to the NGI program, and eliminated the need to move scores of cabinets full of paper into the new technology center.

It makes those records immediately accessible to law enforcement across the country,” said Penny Harker, who runs the Biometric Services Unit at CJIS. She said fulfilling requests for fingerprint matches that once took hours now take just minutes or seconds. “It’s a great benefit to them not having a delay simply because we were still storing files in a manual format.”

Although most paper files were shredded after the digitization process, some were not. The FBI fingerprint cards of historic criminals such as John Dillinger, Bonnie Parker, and Clyde Barrow remain.




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