Recovering usable fingerprints from old evidence

Australian researchers have developed a new way of recovering usable fingerprints from old evidence.

The scientists, at the University of Technology in Sydney, believe it is a world first, that could help police reopen unsolved cases. They used nanotechnology to detect dry and weak fingerprints, which are not revealed by traditional techniques.

Nanotechnology reveals much sharper detail of amino acid traces from old fingerprints than existing methods…

Specimens that previously went unseen are now being revealed using new chemical treatments that target amino acids. These are molecules commonly found in sweat and are therefore present in most fingerprints.

While the targeting of amino acids in this area has been used for decades, the researchers in Sydney are employing nanotechnology to give degraded samples sharper detail.

“If we get something that does work really well and is able to enhance prints on old evidence there is always that potential to use it for cold cases and things like that and for older evidence that may have been laying around for quite a while,” says Dr Xanthe Spindler…

The research is continuing and Dr Spindler says it is an important step forward in efforts to conquer one of the great goals of forensic science – to recover fingerprints from human skin.

We will see this on CSI next season no doubt.

Mexico starts to use iris scans on ID cards


The USA passport card costs $55

Mexico will on Monday become the first country to start using iris scans for identity cards, according to the government.

The documents, which will include the eye’s image as well as fingerprints, a photo and signature, will be 99 per cent reliable, according to Felipe Zamora, who is responsible for legal affairs at the Mexican interior ministry…

Critics, including the National Human Rights Commission, have criticised the system, expressing concern that compiling personal data could violate individual rights.

The move will be introduced gradually, with some 28 million minors taking part in a first two-year stage, due to cost $25 million.

The cards are due to start for adults from 2013.

Iris recognition is increasingly used in airports, controlling access to restricted areas, and prisoner booking and release.

And anywhere else a copper feels like asking for your ID. Sooner or later.

The chuckle I’ll try to follow – is cost. The Mexican government says they can produce these for less than a buck apiece. When Real ID was being whined about discussed in the United States, the National Association of State Governments [which opposed the idea] said it would cost $26 billion over 5 years to implement.

Fingerprinting program expanded in all 25 U.S. border counties

Immigration officials now have access to the fingerprints of every inmate booked into jail in all 25 U.S. counties along the Mexican border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced, touting the program as a way of identifying and deporting “criminal aliens.”

Napolitano’s announcement came as immigrant rights activists criticized the fingerprinting program, known as Secure Communities, after obtaining documents showing that more than a quarter of those deported under its auspices had no criminal records…

That charge is baseless, DHS officials said. Secure Communities gives Immigration and Customs Enforcement the ability to check the fingerprints of those arrested against a database that will show whether they have ever been deported or otherwise had contact with immigration agents…

By some estimates, as many as a million illegal immigrants now living in the U.S. have committed crimes, Morton has said. ICE often is unaware of them, even when they are in jail or prison…

Secure Communities makes such notifications automatic. ICE says the program has identified more than 262,900 illegal immigrants in jails and prisons who have been charged with or convicted of criminal offenses, including more than 39,000 charged with or convicted of violent offenses or major drug crimes says…

In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2010, 142,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records were deported, ICE says, one-third more than in the same period of the prior year. About 50,000 non-criminals were removed.

I live in a county where the best guesstimate is that 15% of the population is undocumentados.

Reading the morning paper and finding that the latest armed robbery and/or murder involved an illegal is about as common as noticing that someone killed in an automobile accident wasn’t using their seatbelt. Both violations – at root – of federal law. Both ignored as common practice.

The way Secure Communities is implemented in the largest city in New Mexico – is that the only fingerprints regularly checked by ICE are of folks under arrest, booked into jail.

Cancer patient held at airport because of missing fingerprints

A Singapore cancer patient was held for four hours by immigration officials in the United States when they could not detect his fingerprints — which had apparently disappeared because of a drug he was taking.

The incident, highlighted in the Annals of Oncology, was reported by the patient’s doctor, Tan Eng Huat, who advised cancer patients taking this drug to carry a doctor’s letter when traveling to the United States.

The drug, capecitabine, is commonly used to treat cancers in the head and neck, breast, stomach and colorectum.

One side-effect is chronic inflammation of the palms or soles of the feet and the skin can peel, bleed and develop ulcers or blisters — or what is known as hand-foot syndrome.

This can give rise to eradication of fingerprints with time,” explained Tan.

“He was detained at the airport customs for four hours because the immigration officers could not detect his fingerprints. He was allowed to enter after the custom officers were satisfied that he was not a security threat.”

We may have changed out the White House and a small piece of Congress for people with brains, education and integrity – but, Homeland Insecurity hasn’t changed a jot.

ICE and local police starting to communicate about criminal aliens

Ordinarily, Nelson Portillo-Lozano would have been free to leave the Fairfax County jail when he posted bail March 19 after being charged with assault. Because of a new effort to find illegal immigrants in jails, Portillo-Lozano, 22, went into custody of U.S. immigration authorities.

He got caught by a program that for the first time checks the fingerprints of people held by local authorities against federal immigration databases. Forty-eight communities have joined since October, mostly in areas with large illegal-immigrant populations…

The program, called Secure Communities, comes in response to lawmakers urging ICE to deport more illegal immigrants incarcerated for serious crimes.

The number of deported criminals rose 60% from 2002 to 2008. Over the same period, the total number of illegal immigrants deported rose 400%. Critics say that trend suggests ICE is too focused on illegal immigrants in communities and at worksites rather than those serving prison terms…

Janet Napolitano, the new Homeland Security secretary, says she wants to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes.

Secure Communities will play a vital role, program chief David Venturella said. “When the secretary talked about making criminal aliens a priority, she really emphasized the ability to share information with local law enforcement,” Venturella said…

Speaking as a geek who’s been online since 1983, I find excuses about communications and shared databases laughable. Criminally absurd.

I signed online for the first time in the spring of 1983 to access an inventory and import database for the firm I’d just started representing. It was a bloody sales tool. Here we are twenty-six years later and the heroic forces of American law and order are just figuring out this may be useful.

No doubt our 2-party ideologues represent a significant part of the problem – and little or no part of the solution. No excuse.

Eating crap processed foods helps CSI catch you

The inventor of a revolutionary new forensic fingerprinting technique claims criminals who eat processed foods are more likely to be discovered by police through their fingerprint sweat corroding metal.

Dr John Bond, a researcher at the University of Leicester and scientific support officer at Northamptonshire Police, said processed food fans are more likely to leave tell-tale signs at a crime scene…Dr Bond said sweaty fingerprint marks made more of a corrosive impression on metal if they had a high salt content.

And he revealed he was currently in early talks with colleagues at the University of Leicester to assess whether a sweat mark left at a crime scene could be analysed to reveal a ‘sweat profile’ ie more about the type of person who left the mark.

Dr Bond…has developed a method that enables scientists to ‘visualise fingerprints’ even after the print itself has been removed. He and colleagues conducted a study into the way fingerprints can corrode metal surfaces. The technique can enhance – after firing– a fingerprint that has been deposited on a small calibre metal cartridge case before it is fired.

RTFA – there are some interesting avenues for forensic research suggested by Dr. Bond’s work.