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Obtaining Fingerprints for FBI


Bonnie

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Yesterday, I sent the following e-mail to the Ms. Thao Anh at U.S. Embassy:

Quote

Good afternoon:

At his talk in Boquete, Ambassador Feeley said it was his intention to check into the matter of obtaining criminal history checks when one's fingerprints cannot be read. Has he learned anything in this regard. There are a number of people in that bind here in Boquete and, as the Ambassador noted, doubtless other all over the world. There must be an alternative method.

Thanks,
Bonnie Williams

Boquete Warden

Here is the response I received:

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Hi Bonnie,

Please refer to the MASCOT dated March 15 that we sent out to all U.S. citizens subsequent to the town hall in Boquete below.  For additional questions about FBI Identification Record, including fingerprints’ readability issues, please contact (304) 625-5590 or send an email to identity@ic.fbi.gov.  Since each case is treated on its own merits, we can only provide general responses and it will be up to each individual to follow-up regarding their specific case with the FBI using the contact information provided.

Best,

Thao Anh

It looks like each person is on his/her own here.

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3 hours ago, Bonnie said:

Yesterday, I sent the following e-mail to the Ms. Thao Anh at U.S. Embassy:

Good afternoon:

At his talk in Boquete, Ambassador Feeley said it was his intention to check into the matter of obtaining criminal history checks when one's fingerprints cannot be read. Has he learned anything in this regard? There are a number of people in that bind here in Boquete and, as the Ambassador noted, doubtless other all over the world. There must be an alternative method.

Thanks,

Bonnie Williams

Boquete Warden

 

Here is the response I received:

 

Hi Bonnie,

Please refer to the MASCOT dated March 15 that we sent out to all U.S. citizens subsequent to the town hall in Boquete below.  For additional questions about FBI Identification Record, including fingerprints’ readability issues, please contact (304) 625-5590 or send an email to identity@ic.fbi.gov.  Since each case is treated on its own merits, we can only provide general responses and it will be up to each individual to follow-up regarding their specific case with the FBI using the contact information provided.

Best,

Thao Anh

 

It looks like each person is on his/her own here.

Worthless government employees.

 

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Is there something about old, wrinkled fingers that makes the prints disappear?  Surely not everyone without prints is in the witness protection program or ex- Mafia.

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53 minutes ago, JudyS said:

Is there something about old, wrinkled fingers that makes the prints disappear?  Surely not everyone without prints is in the witness protection program or ex- Mafia.

Frequently the issue arises for someone who has handled a lot of paperwork during their working years. Apparently the paper fibers wear down the ridges on the fingertips (so we are led to believe).

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1 hour ago, JudyS said:

Is there something about old, wrinkled fingers that makes the prints disappear?  Surely not everyone without prints is in the witness protection program or ex- Mafia.

That was the Ambassador's observation. He said if that many people were experiencing the problem here, others must have been experiencing it all over the world and there must be solutions. His pledge at the meeting was to look into it. That's what gave rise to my e-mail. I felt certain that the State Department could more easily get answers out of the FBI than could individual citizens.

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4 hours ago, Bud said:

Frequently the issue arises for someone who has handled a lot of paperwork during their working years. Apparently the paper fibers wear down the ridges on the fingertips (so we are led to believe).

So it's true.  Old wrinkled fingers can lose the ability to print, per Bonnie's article:  " Also, the elasticity of skin decreases with age, so a lot of senior citizens have prints that are difficult to capture. The ridges get thicker; the height between the top of the ridge and the bottom of the furrow gets narrow, so there's less prominence. So if there's any pressure at all [on the scanner], the print just tends to smear."

The indignities of old age just keep expanding.  They might have to rely on retinal scans.  But then you have the people with macular degeneration.

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I agree with Judy whole heartedly!  I did do some research on this and found that E Passports are now being issued in the US.  The passport contains a chip with information on it like fingerprints and retinal scans.  Most industrialized nations now issue these new passports and I believe one can have the chip installed on an old passport.  Hopefully this will eliminate theft and falsification and make the entry into a new country a little easier.  Other means of identification for those without fingerprints will hopefully be added to this chip.

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A failure rate of 1 to 2 percent from an article I found:

http://www.timegoesby.net/weblog/2013/02/elder-fingerprint-failure.html

 

”...fingerprinting did have significant engineering issues,' according to Ross Anderson, professor in security engineering at the University of Cambridge [England] Computer Laboratory. ‘There are some people whose fingerprints you can’t scan,' he said, 'people like bricklayers and tilers whose fingers have been worn flat.

“‘Old people tend to have much less distinct fingerprints than young people for similar reasons,' he continued. 'The equal error rate in fingerprints is about one per cent if everything goes well.’”

The Scientific American website reports that the failure rate for scanned fingerprints is about one to two percent and further notes,

”...the elasticity of skin decreases with age, so a lot of senior citizens have prints that are difficult to capture. The ridges get thicker; the height between the top of the ridge and the bottom of the furrow gets narrow, so there's less prominence. So if there's any pressure at all [on the scanner], the print just tends to smear.”

That's what happened with my first set of prints – smeared, unreadable. The FBI website has instructions for taking fingerprints of elders and others with impaired “ridges in the pattern area.”

”Apply light pressure and use very little ink to record these types of fingerprint impressions. A technique known as "milking the finger" can be used to raise the fingerprint ridges prior to printing. This technique involves applying pressure or rubbing the fingers in a downward motion from palm to fingertip.”

In my case, it's a scanner not ink, but when I discussed what I learned with the technician – different from the one who was there in January – she was way ahead of me in regard to the difficulty with old people and took a lot of time repeating scans to get my prints right this time

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There were a couple of interesting weblinks as well:

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/fingerprints-and-other-biometrics/recording-legible-fingerprints

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/fingerprints-and-other-biometrics

jim

 

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