The Future of Biometric
Gregory E. Scarbro
Mr. Scarbro has been with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for thirty-six years, serving in a program management capacity for a majority of that time. He currently serves as the Unit Chief for the FBI, Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, Biometric Services Section (BSS), Customer Support Unit. He is responsible for all law enforcement and criminal justice community outreach associated with the various FBI BSS person-centric services. He formally served as the Unit Chief for the FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting Program and as Program Manager for the development of the FBI CJIS Division advisory policy process.
Today, the term “biometrics” is not limited to fingerprints. It also includes palm prints, irises, and facial recognition. In an effort to harness new technologies, and to improve the application of tenprint and latent fingerprint searches, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division developed and incrementally integrated a new system to replace the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). This new system, the Next Generation Identification (NGI), provides the criminal justice community with the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information.
Beginning in July 1999, the CJIS Division operated and maintained the IAFIS, the world’s largest person-centric database. The IAFIS provided automated tenprint and latent fingerprint searches, electronic image storage, electronic exchanges of fingerprints and responses, as well as text-based searches based on descriptive information. Because of growing threats, new identification capabilities were necessary. Advancements in technology allowed further development of biometric identification services. The CJIS Division, with guidance from the user community, developed the NGI System to meet the evolving business needs of its IAFIS customers.
Building on the foundation of the IAFIS, the NGI brought the FBI’s biometric identification services and criminal history information to the next level. The NGI system improved the efficiency and accuracy of biometric services to address evolving local, state, tribal, federal, national, and international criminal justice requirements. New capabilities include a national Rap Back service; the Interstate Photo System; fingerprint verification services; more complete and accurate identity records; and enhancements to the biometric identification repository. In September 2014, the CJIS Division launched the final phase of NGI services, thus replacing the remaining IAFIS functionality.