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Fed fingerprint database spreads across US

Helps officials share information about criminals. The wider use of fingerprint scanning technology in recent years has made it easier than ever for law enforcement officials to share information about criminals and quickly compare a suspect’s fingerprint image with millions of similar imprints, according to a January report from the U.S. General Accounting Office. But it can still take small police departments that can’t afford the electronic equipment more than five months to mail batches of fingerprint cards to state repositories, the report said. The GAO found that a 1999 FBI program called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is increasing the use and accuracy of a federal fingerprint database. The IAFIS program was created to encourage nonfederal law enforcement agencies to submit criminal fingerprints to state databases, and then to the federal IAFIS database. Full Story

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