Biometrics information resource
Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) technology is used in a variety of law enforcement and civil applications. In law enforcement, fingerprints are collected from arrested subjects and searched against local, state, regional, and/or national fingerprint databases. The subject's ten fingerprints are acquired either through the traditional ink-and-roll method or through an optical livescan system, consisting of a sizeable fingerprint scanner, PC, and imaging and transmission software. The electronic fingerprints are submitted, along with demographic data, to identify or verify the identity of the subject. Searches may take minutes, hours, or days, depending on the quality of the information submitted, the size of the database being searched, and the entity requesting the search. Law enforcement searches often return candidate lists used to determine which of several possible matches is the best match. Searches for latent prints lifted from crime scenes are a subset of this category.
The primary civil sector applications of AFIS technology are (1) background searches to screen job applicants in industries such as financial services and air travel; and (2) public benefits programs such as welfare issuance, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, etc. The technology is implemented to locate duplicate sets of fingerprints, which would indicate that a user is committing fraud. AFIS technology is also in a similar fashion in national ID programs. In civil sector applications, the value of AFIS may be as much in deterrence as detection, as most individuals interacting with a public sector entity are not attempting to commit fraud. Background searches utilize ten fingerprints, as in law enforcement, while benefits and ID programs normally require the collection of between two and four fingerprints.
A largely untapped segment of the AFIS market is what might be called "transactional" AFIS. Increased computing power and improved matching capabilities have resulted in small-scale AFIS systems within the budgetary and operational reach of private sector entities such as health care providers. These systems can be used to identify patients and providers from databases of tens to hundreds of thousands of fingerprint, with response times in the few-minute range.
AFIS Market Size
An established technology in law enforcement settings, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is the most widespread application of biometrics today and will continue to be through 2007. Since many law enforcement organizations are already using AFIS, its primary growth will come from private sector employee background check applications. Because of this growing need to screen applicants for criminal records before hiring them, AFIS revenues are projected to grow from $323.0 in 2002 to $1,250.3m in 2007. AFIS revenues are expected to comprise approximately 30% of the entire biometric market.
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