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Criminal Identification Procedure In The 21st Century

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Criminal Identification Procedure in the 21st Century


University of Phoenix

Nicole Paddock



The current ways in which we gain the identification of criminals and suspects has drastically changed over the course of the 21st century. In this paper, we will discuss technological advances in criminal identification mainly biometric identification. The technological advance will be described, as well as, going over the advantages and disadvantages. This paper will also look at how the due process model and the crime control model looks at biometric identification. A summarization of the findings will be made as well as any recommendations concerning the use of the biometric identification.


In the Criminal Justice System, they gain criminals identity in many ways. Some ways are by DNA analysis, Biometric Identification, Camera and wiretap surveillance, and fingerprint analysis. This paper will focus on the technology of Biometric Identification. What are some of the advantages to biometric identification and what are some of the disadvantages? With all of the current technological advances that are being done in criminal procedure you have to wonder if the constitutional rights of the accused are being upheld and from what perspective; The Due Process Model or the Crime Control Model? In order to answer those questions we must first look at what biometric identification is and how it works.

Biometric Identification

Biometric identifications have been associated with very costly top secure applications. Today the cost of such applications is going down due to the evolving technologies. Biometric identification has become a now cost effective, reliable, and highly accurate way to obtain a persons identity.

What exactly is Biometric Identification? "The term "biometrics" refers strictly speaking to a science involving the statistical analysis of the biological characteristics." (Huopio, 1998) In this case, biometrics is used in a context of analyzing human characteristics for security and identification purposes. The difference can be clarified by the following definition:

"A biometric is a unique, measurable characteristic or trait of a human being for automatically recognizing or verifying identity" (Huopio, 1998)

The part of a human that is being measured can be physical, such as an eye, face, finger image, hand and voice or behavioral, like signature and typing rhythm. Biometric system must be able to recognize or verify it quickly and automatically.

Biometric products are probably the highest form of security. There are three levels of security defined as the following:

* The lowest level is something that you have in your possession, such as a badge with your photograph on it.

* The second level is something that you know, such as a password used with a computer login or a PIN code used for your ATM card.

* The highest level of security is something what you are and something that you do. This essentially is what biometrics is all about.

Biometrics can be used in several various ways to establish someone's identity. One of these ways is by recognition or identification. Another way is by verification. The same steps are taken to authenticate a person's identity. There are four stages. The first stage is capture. In this stage, a physical or behavioral sample is captured by the system. The second stage is extraction. In this stage, a unique data is extracted from the sample and a template is created. The third stage is comparison, in the stage the template is then compared with a new sample. The fourth and final stage is match/non-match. This is the stage where the system decides if the feature extracted from the new sample is a match.

Biometric systems can come in many different shape and sizes, but they all have the same fundamental principle of capture, extraction, comparison, and matching. Different biometrics, measure or traits of a human body focus on different features. A few of the different systems designed were to use the following physical traits, or biometrics, the eye, the face, the fingerprint, hand geometry, finger geometry, palm, signature, and voice.

"Biometrics that is used to analyze the eye is considered to offer the highest level of accuracy." (Huopio, 1998) The procedure used to do this is divided into two separate technologies. The first is the examination of the iris and the second is retina patterns. The iris is the colored part of your eye. Each person's iris is a unique structure. The complex system of your iris is stable and unchanging throughout your whole life. The retina is the layer of blood vessels situated at the back of the eye, as with the iris the retina as a unique pattern.

Face recognition technologies analyze the unique shape, pattern, and positioning of facial features. "The face is a natural biometric because it is a key component in the way we humans remember and recognize each other." (Huopio, 1998) There are some problems with face recognition. One of the biggest problems being that people do change there facial appearances, not only for cosmetic purposes, but also people age over time causing them to have wrinkles. In addition, people grow beards or start wearing glasses all of these things can have a major affect on the performance of the biometric system.

Fingerprint scanning is one of the most commercially successful biometric technologies today. It is believed that no two fingers have the identical prints, even from the same person or identical twins. "Classification of fingerprints started in the 1800's and has developed further through extensive use in forensic societies." (Huopio, 1998) Finger scanning is not immune to environmental disturbances. The image is captured when the finger touches the scanner device, which makes it possible to



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