Fingerprints – A Touchy Subject

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Is it true that just as each snowflake is different, every leaf is singular, and no one looks exactly like Steve Buscemi, every fingerprint is unique? If they’re used to solve crimes, aren’t they a completely dependable way to base a background check on a job candidate?

And today, not only crimes but smartphones, laptops and many other of our latest and most advanced devices can be secured with a fingerprint, right? Biometric technology, as it’s called, seems unbeatable since fingerprints can’t be duplicated. While you may be able to alter your visage with Photoshop and modify your voice with Audacity, fingerprints can’t be altered. We all know that. And as such, fingerprints can be relied upon as an accurate source for criminal history, correct?

In fact, the facts prove otherwise.


The Myth of the National Criminal Database

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If you’re a fan of movie or TV crime dramas, then you’re probably familiar with that one moment that always seems to happen in these works of fiction—when the lead detective orders a junior officer to “run a background check on the suspect” and, amazingly, a few clicks of the keyboard later, they’ve got everything […]