The FBI is expanding its biometric identification systems for criminal, civil, and national security reasons.
The FBI announced this week that it has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to design, build, test and deploy a biometric identification system capable of using several methods to identify and arrest criminals. The contract, if renewed up to nine years as allowed under its terms, is valued around $1 billion. The base contract will last one year.
The system will expand on the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division's automated fingerprint identification system in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The FBI said the system will enhance fingerprint processing and increase system availability, accuracy, and capacity. It will also expand the FBI's interstate photo system's repository, provide photo search capabilities, and support iris imaging. Finally, the FBI said it will create a National Palm Print system with a central, national repository for palm print data, which can be used to identify latent palm prints at crime scenes.
The FBI said the Lockheed system will help integrate "lawfully authorized biometric data, providing the framework for a future multimodal system." The system will be interoperable, as well as expandable and flexible to incorporate new technologies and standards.
"Due to the many issues associated with identity theft, lost and stolen documents, and the ability to spoof standard name-based identity management systems, coupled with the rapid advances in technology and the nation's focus on combating terrorism, there are increasing needs for new and improved identification services," the FBI said in an announcement regarding the contract. "It is important to note that the NGI system will not expand the categories of individuals from whom the fingerprints and biometric data may be collected.
"However, it will allow for the collection of additional biometric data from criminals and terrorists. Although fingerprint data will remain the primary means of identification, the collection of additional biometric data will be used for investigative purposes and to assist in the identification process."
Thomas E. Bush, III, assistant director of the FBI's CJIS Division, said that although the automatic fingerprint identification system has served investigators well, the bureau's Advisory Policy Board and National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council recommended more modern technology.
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