16 Stories

Woman's Fingers Returned to Her 80 Years After Death

New Zealand is repatriating the remains of 37 individuals

(Newser) - When New Zealand educator Jessie Marguerite Fendell was found in a dry creek bed at the bottom of a cliff near the school where she worked in 1933, her family didn't believe that her death was an accident. So investigators exhumed her body three months later, sent her fingers... More »

Venezuela to Fingerprint Grocery Shoppers

Maduro says move will foil smugglers

(Newser) - Venezuelan grocery shoppers won't be able to buy food without a fingerprint scan under tough new anti-smuggling measures unveiled by President Nicolas Maduro. Subsidies and price controls keep food in Venezuela a lot cheaper than in neighboring countries and Maduro says the new biometric system will be an "... More »

Franken Worried About iPhone's Fingerprint Scanner

Writes open letter to Apple asking for answers

(Newser) - The new iPhone 5S that hit the market today has a fingerprint scanner designed to replace the conventional password system, and that scares the bejeezus out of Sen. Al Franken. In an open letter to Apple's Tim Cook, the Minnesota senator asks for more information about the security of... More »

Supreme Court DNA Ruling Has Scary Echoes of Gattaca

Decision opens path to swabbing without suspicion: Noah Feldman

(Newser) - In a 5-4 decision yesterday , the Supreme Court ruled that those arrested for "serious crimes" can have DNA samples taken from their cheeks—even without suspicion. And that "represents a major step toward a Gattaca world," writes Noah Feldman at Bloomberg . In short, evidence can now be... More »

Deportation Program May Raise Crime: Report

Federal panel says fingerprint-sharing system often backfires

(Newser) - A federal panel reviewing a contentious US deportation program found that it hurt community policing, potentially leading to “greater levels of crime.” The stated goal of the Secure Communities program, which provides immigration officials with police-obtained fingerprints, was to deport serious criminals. But the program has cracked down... More »

Feds Push Fingerprint 'Dragnet' for Illegal Immigrants

Obama administration moves to expand program

(Newser) - The federal government is quietly expanding a program that could have a bigger impact on immigrants' rights than the controversial Arizona law that goes into effect this week. Under the program, the fingerprints of everyone who is booked into jail for any crime—whether or not they are convicted—are... More »

Bacteria on Skin May Be Used to ID Criminals

Study shows people can be identified by their bugs

(Newser) - Forget fingerprints: The latest crime fighting tool may be the traces of bacteria we carry on our skin. A new study shows it is possible to identify people based on their personal brand of bacteria. "Each one of us leaves a unique trail of bugs behind," a researcher... More »

Fingerprint Surgery Fools Japanese Immigration

Woman has fingerprints swapped to dodge biometric border control

(Newser) - An illegal immigrant slipped past Japan's biometric security system by having surgery to swap her fingerprints, according to Japanese authorities. The Chinese woman, deported after overstaying her visa last year, had skin patches on thumbs and index fingers removed and regrafted onto the opposite hands, the BBC reports. More »

How Blago Celebrated Inauguration

Ill. guv played hooky from impeachment, got fingerprinted

(Newser) - Yesterday was special for a certain Illinois politician—and not just the one you’re thinking of. While Barack Obama was being sworn in, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was getting his fingerprints taken, reports the Chicago Tribune. Blagojevich also failed to enter a plea in his state Senate impeachment trial; he’... More »

Tech Helps Prints Tell More of the Story

Snack, drug habits can be traced on bullets, similar surfaces

(Newser) - Advances in fingerprint technology are making the century-old forensic tool even more vital, the Boston Globe reports. Scientists have developed methods that can not only detect traces of food or chemicals in prints, but also single out targets at a confused crime scene. “We're using fingerprints to learn more... More »

Fingerprint Test Can Now ID What Person Has Touched

Technique detects drugs, explosives

(Newser) - Cutting-edge technology now means fingerprints can reveal much more than just a person's identity, the New York Times reports. A spray developed by US researchers can analyze tiny molecular compounds left behind by the print and tell what materials a person has recently handled—including drugs or explosives. It can... More »

B-Schools Use Palm Scans to Catch Cheats

ID confirmation targets impostors taking admissions exam

(Newser) - In an effort to foil cheaters, top American business schools will require a high-tech identity check of applicants taking the standardized admissions test, reports the Wall Street Journal. The crackdown on the use of paid impostors will require GMAT takers to undergo a "palm vein" scan, which is unique... More »

EU Blasts Italy Over Gypsy Fingerprinting

Proposal to fight crime is racist and must stop, parliament says

(Newser) - Italy’s mandatory fingerprinting of its Gypsy minority is "an act of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin" and should be stopped, the European Parliament said in a resolution passed today. The assembly voted 336-220, with 77 abstentions, to condemn the practice—though the resolution is not binding,... More »

Italy Plan to Fingerprint Gypsies Under Fire

Measure against ethnic minority decried as racist

(Newser) - Italy has begun taking fingerprints from members of its Gypsy minority, in what the government calls a “census” of the people living in nomad encampments. The plans to document adults and children lacking an EU passport has brought condemnations from critics, who charge that “census” is the Berlusconi... More »

FBI Plans Huge Biometric Index

On project 'Next Generation Identification'

(Newser) - The FBI is planning a $1 billion database of “biometric” information—face shapes, iris scans, palm patterns, and even gait patterns—to enhance investigations, the Washington Post reports. Critics fear that the plan, called Next Generation Identification, will further erode individual privacy as the body becomes a de facto... More »

Thumb Prints Produce Cash in Rural India

New biometric ATMs help the illiterate poor get wages faster

(Newser) - Payday in rural India now comes with the scan of a fingerprint: Brand new biometric cash machines are letting illiterate laborers collect their meager wages hassle-free. Account holders are issued an ATM card bearing their thumb print information; when they withdraw money, they follow voice commands to retrieve their wages.... More »

16 Stories