Are innocent people ever convicted based on fingerprint evidence?

Are innocent people ever convicted on based on fingerprint evidence? Fingerprints are 100% accurate, aren’t t they? Yes and No.

Yes – innocent people are convicted of fingerprints.

In the UK there have been two cases, stemming from one crime, in where people were wrongly convicted based on fingerprint evidence. One for murder and one perjury.

No – fingerprints are not 100% accurate. Fingerprint evidence relies on human interpretation, and humans make errors.

It took years of appeals and assistance from multiple countries for the two people in the UK have their convictions over turned.  If its happened not once but twice, it shows it can happen, and the fact its so hard to appeal against fingerprint evidence indicates how compelling fingerprint evidence is.  It is statistically unlikely after over a hundreds of thousands of trials cases around the world that only two people have been wrongly convicted.

Fingerprints require human interpretation, humans make mistakes. Two errors in the world ever, for a subject which takes years of training to be an expert and has been around for a hundred years, just does not sound right. And its not.

Errors have been made by the FBI who claimed that Brandon Mayfields fingerprint was linked to the Madrid bombing, that stated that they were 100% correct and it was an “absolutely incontrovertible match”; but they were wrong. The Spanish police showed the FBI were wrong, the US DoJ criticized the FBI, and the FBI had to pay Brandon Mayfield $2 million in 2006.

There have been other cases around the world, and these are the ones were the innocent person has ability to gather a strong enough defense team to over come phenomenal power of finger print evidence, it stands to reason that there are many other people that have been wrongly convicted, but could not prove it.

The LAPD have also had internal issues with fingerprints and errors, who else has?


Can you defeat fingerprint scanners?

Can you defeat fingerprint scanners?  Yes!

With fingerprint scanners increasingly in use, from schools to offices, to passports and border controls. How good are these things? Do they really work?

Well, if the video videos are anything to go by, the answers are “not very” and “no”

Full video on defeating fingerprints

Another Video on defeating fingerprints

LAPD Fingerprint Errors

Sadly fingerprint errors, are not limited to the UK.

It has now been reported that the Los Angeles Police Department have made several major errors relating to their finger print examination.

Its know that innocent people have been arrested based on “shoddy work”, by the finger print analyst.  The exact number of arrest has not been released yet, but at two people where charged before the errors were found.

So far one fingerprint expert has been fired, and three suspended as a result of the errors.

Now the LAPD are trying to show that the mistakes are very limited, and perhaps the most obviously bad errors are limited, but what about the ones that harder to spot, that are just “human error” rather than incredibly bad police work?

With the LAPD and Scottish fingerprint analysts making such massive errors that innocent people were arrested and even sent to prison, is it conceivable that two fingerprint departments, with no relation to each other, and 12,000 miles apart, are the only two departments in the world with these issues? Or is it more likely that every department in between has had some error, but it has just not been detected?


How to defeat fingerprint scanners

With fingerprint scanners increasingly in use, from schools to offices, to passports and border controls. How good are these things?

Do they really work?

Well, if these videos are anything to go by, the answers are “not very” and “no”

How to defeat fingerprint readers (full video on creating false fingerprints)

Fingerprints For Council Workers | Where is My Data?

Westminster County Council has requested that staff provide fingerprints, for the purposes of tracking their staff ‘clocking on and off’.

The use of fingerprints by the council can be seen as a modern solution of the age old problem of monitoring staff arriving and leaving work.

With the traditional punch cards anyone could have logged in and out, the same could be said with passwords or identity tokens, which can be passed between people. Fingerprints are unique and cannot (allegedly) be transferred between people.
While the government and councillor alike insist there is nothing wrong with fingerprinting staff, they also stated that DNA would only be taken from the guilty, that ANPR would be targeted at terrorists, and that surveillance powers would only be used against criminals, and that our data would be secure. It should also be noted that the fingerprint reading technology can be defeated

Full Article on the new site –

Fingerprints For Council Workers | Where is My Data?.

Fingerprints: Schools

Fingerprinting Kids…Its old news, and its been covered before on this site. As far back in 2006 the Register had a good article about how a school was rolling the system out.

Holland Park School is believed to be one of the first schools in the UK to seek to fingerprint every pupil in an effort to monitor their attendance. The school said it will test the system, costing about £4,500, on pupils who are late to school from next week before rolling it out to all 1,500 pupils.

It plans to build a database so children can be identified and their time of arrival recorded in a “Live Register” by pressing a finger on an electronic pad. If late arrivals fail to press a pad at the gates or in a classroom they will be recorded as absent.”

Fingerprints are not even 100% accurate. They don’t always get it right in criminal cases, what hope for a school? So, why does fingerprinting continue in schools?

Teachers used to take registers, or count their children, but now this “old fashioned” method, is just not good enough for schools.

The solution is, apparently, to finger print the children as they go into school. Its not been confirmed if this will stop the children from skipping school, or merely allow the schools to know more accurately when the kids are there.

Pupils, like travelers with the Oyster card, are bound to forget, or fail to “check in” (or out) or class rooms over the course of school life. Getting it right, every day for 15 years is, at best unlikely for any system, especially a a human one. Does this mean that rushed, forgetful, or bullied children, with have a higher recorded absence rate than others? How will these new and detailed stats be used? On the Oyster card, the defacto assumption is that you are cheating the system and therefore get charged more. How will schools behave?

In the future as the statistics of children attending become more and more important the risk of losing information from the fingerprint system will not be tolerated.

Because of this it is predicted that knowing if the children are in school or not will become so important that schools will have to use a backup of method of monitoring children. Possibly paper, as it is the most backwardly compatible system. The schools will probably have some intricate list of names and mark if they have attended or not against the pupils name.

Why is fingerprinting in schools continuing? No idea. Reasons for this are welcomed.

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New Home for Where is My Data

This site has now been incorporated to the site Where is Your Data?

This blog will still remain here, but lectures, quizzes, tests, and news will be put on the parent site.