“Rapid” DNA: Not super rapid. Still really cool. More steak than sizzle.

FBI eager to embrace mobile ‘Rapid DNA’ testing (PC Advisor)

It’s been the FBI’s dream for years — to do near-instant DNA analysis using mobile equipment in the field — and now “Rapid DNA” gear is finally here.

Really!? Near instant? Mobile equipment? Are FBI agents are running around with hand held DNA devices that give instant feedback?

Not really.

According to the article, “…[T]he Rapid DNA device can spit out an individual’s DNA data within 90 minutes… measures about 27-by-24-by-16 inches, costs about $245,000.”

Compared to other biometric deployments, this isn’t particularly rapid or mobile.

Though I’ve made some sport with rapid DNA in the past, there are some applications where only DNA analysis will do and the applications that government bodies have in mind for “rapid DNA” don’t exactly lend themselves to breathless reporting or Gattaca* references.

First, the FBI wants faster and cheaper DNA analysis to help clear cold cases where the state possesses DNA evidence by comparing the DNA of arrestees with an evidence database.

We discussed this very point with Mike Kirkpatrick in a recent twitter Biometric Chat.

Q4: Then, if the Big Three of biometrics are Face, Finger/palm print & Iris – Where does DNA fit in?

A4: There’s an ongoing multi-agency effort on rapid DNA, which will put a “quick” DNA capability at the booking stations. We should see this in the market within the next couple of years. It’ll help solve alot of cases. DNA in many ways is the ultimate biometric but still has many privacy issues associated with it as well as the past relative slowness in getting results. It can prove someone innocent as easily as proving someone guilty, which is good as all in criminal justice should be searching for the truth. [ed. formatting edited to de-twitter the Q&A]

Then, there are other government ID applications where only DNA will suffice such as this one, having to do with immigration and whether certain individuals are related by family, described in a very interesting Computerworld article from about a year ago (blog post here).

One pent-up need for a rapid DNA analysis kit is coming for the Department of Homeland Security’s citizenship and emigration services, according to Christopher Miles, biometrics program manager at DHS.

The uncomfortable realization that the government might be wasting a huge amount of time reading fraudulent documents and listening to lies was a lesson learned a few years ago in trying to help refugees in Kenya that wanted to emigrate to the U.S. In that instance, the U.S. government took about 500 DNA samples, did a lab analysis to verify family relationships, and found out 80% were fraudulent, Miles said.

If all you have is a DNA database or if you need to find out if two people are related, DNA is the only biometric modality that can help. In these cases, and compared to what went before it: 90 minutes really is fast; $1,500 per transaction (a guess) really is cheap; and something the size of a microwave oven really is mobile.

*The article’s author, while suspected of the former, is innocent of the latter. As for Gattaca, I enjoyed the film but I can’t believe it was released fifteen years ago: October 24, 1997.

Biometrics & the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)

Here’s a Storify transcript of this morning’s Tweet Chat about biometrics (#biometricchat).

I offer many thanks to John at M2SYS for asking me to fill in for him and Mike Kirkpatrick for taking time out of his busy schedule to lend his experience to our understanding of the FBI’s use of biometrics for law enforcement and civilian purposes.

Background for the conversation is here.

July, 19 2012 Biometric Chat with Mike Kirkpatrick : Assistant Director in Charge of the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division from April 2001 – August 2004.

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  1. SecurLinx
    Good morning and welcome to this month’s chat on#biometric technology! #biometricchat
  2. SecurLinx
    I’m honored to be filling in for John @m2sys as this month’s host. Thanks for asking me, John!#biometricchat
  3. m2sys
    Good morning to you and thanks for taking over this month’s chat – we really are appreciative of your guest hosting skills! #biometricchat
  4. SecurLinx
    @m2sys The pleasure is mine. AND Thank you, and welcome to Mike @MDKConsulting, for joining us.#biometricchat
  5. SecurLinx
    Today, we will be discussing #biometrics in Law Enforcement (esp. FBI). Our guest is Michael Kirkpatrick. @MDKConsulting #biometricchat
  6. MDKConsulting
    Thanks for the invite! I’m looking forward to this morning’s chat #biometricchat
  7. SecurLinx
    @MDKConsulting Mike finished his FBI career as Asst. Dir. in charge of the FBI’s CJIS center (Apr. 2001 – Aug. 2004) #biometricchat
  8. SecurLinx
    Those dates should give you some idea of the challenges at the FBI’s CJIS. #biometricchat
  9. m2sys
    @SecurLinx Quite a tumultuous time at the FBI’s CJIS…anxious to hear some of Mike’s feedback and insight. #biometricchat
  10. SecurLinx
    Feel free to chip in with your own answers – answer each question (Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.) with A1, A2, A3, etc.#biometricchat
  11. SecurLinx
    Also feel free to submit your own questions during chat or ask other questions of the group. #biometricchat
  12. SecurLinx
    Q1: What was the biggest challenge CJIS faced in the transition from a paper fingerprint system to a fully fledged IAFIS? #biometricchat
  13. MDKConsulting
    A1:There were several challenges. Building the world’s largest #AFIS; IdM had never been done on that scale before… #biometricchat
  14. Note: IdM = Identity Management
  15. MDKConsulting
    A1…Getting the budget to build it ($640M); there were no #fingerprint electronic transmission standards so they had to be.. #biometricchat
  16. MDKConsulting
    A1:…developed (EFTS); Most #fingerprints were still being captured on paper so had to be converted to digital images:… #biometricchat
  17. MDKConsulting
    A1:…Major #FBI workforce retraining; IAFIS didn’t always work as advertised in the early days so alot of downtime #biometricchat
  18. m2sys
    Q1: Were lawmakers at the time reluctant to fund this or was it generally accepted that this was natural maturation? #biometricchat
  19. MDKConsulting
    m2sys A1: Overall, congress was very supportive but this was a high profile project, the only one of its peer projects… #biometricchat
  20. MDKConsulting
    m2sys A1:…(e.g., FAA & IRS modernizations) to succeed. It turned out to be a high risk/high reward project #biometricchat
  21. SecurLinx
    Q2: CJIS is a key part of US ID infrastructure. What is the breakdown between Law Enforcement vs civilian/licensing queries? #biometricchat
  22. SecurLinx
    FBI CJIS is used for firearm background checks, child care workers, financial services employment and more…#biometricchat
  23. BiometricUpdate
    Often wondered about this breakdown myself, actually#biometricchat #biometricchat
  24. MDKConsulting
    A2: #FBI has 2 #fingerprint streams-criminal and civil (licensing & employment checks). Currently ~55% are criminal… #biometricchat
  25. MDKConsulting
    A2:…and 45% are civil. The original IAFIS was designed to process 60K prints/day. #FBI Next Generation Identification… #biometricchat
  26. MDKConsulting
    A2: …(NGI) now easily processes more than 185K/day. Quite a leap forward! #biometricchat
  27. MDKConsulting
    Firearm pre-sale checks (NICS) are name-based, not fingerprint-based. #biometricchat
  28. SecurLinx
    @mdkconsulting Good catch re firearms… done thru the FBI but no fingerprints involved. #biometricchat
  29. SecurLinx
    Q3: What is the next biometric modality CJIS would like to incorporate into IAFIS? #biometricchat
  30. MDKConsulting
    A3: In order of priority, palm prints, face, and iris capabilities will be added to NGI. #biometricchat
  31. BiometricUpdate
    We just wrote about the B12 MORIS system being adopted by FBI. How much time can apps like this save?bit.ly/LYXvug #biometricchat
  32. SecurLinx
    Let’s go quickly to Q4 and then deal with Q3 & Q4 together… #BiometricChat
  33. SecurLinx
    Q4: Then, if the Big Three of #biometrics are Face, Finger/palm print & Iris – Where does DNA fit in?#BiometricChat
  34. MDKConsulting
    A4: There’s an ongoing multi-agency effort on rapid#DNA, which will put a “quick” DNA capability at the …#biometricchat
  35. SecurLinx
    @mdkconsulting Love the quotes around quick. Definitely quick compared to earlier DNA analysis!#BiometricChat
  36. MDKConsulting
    A4:…booking stations. We should see this in the market within the next couple of years. It’ll help solve alot of cases. #biometricchat
  37. MDKConsulting
    A4: #DNA in many ways is the ultimate #biometric but still has many privacy issues associated with it as well as the past… #biometricchat
  38. MDKConsulting
    A4:…relative slowness in getting results. It can prove someone innocent as easily as proving someone guilty, which is… #biometricchat
  39. MDKConsulting
    A4:…good as all in criminal justice should be searching for the truth. #biometricchat
  40. SecurLinx
    @MDKConsulting Excellent point. Biometrics can be evidence of either innocence and guilt. #biometricchat
  41. m2sys
    @MDKConsulting Q4: So DNA quick checks will be at booking stations to circumvent lab analysis in as little as a few years? #biometricchat
  42. MDKConsulting
    @m2sys A4: These are envisioned as a “quick” check as an investigative lead rather than a full-on forensic lab exam #biometricchat
  43. m2sys
    @MDKConsulting Thank you, truly amazing advances in science for DNA processing! #biometricchat
  44. MDKConsulting
    Currently, #FBI is processing criminal fingerprints in just a few minutes. Rapid DNA is envisioned to be more like an hour. #biometricchat
  45. SecurLinx
    Q3/4b: Which (palm, face, iris, DNA) advancement in CJIS capabilities is furthest along? #BiometricChat
  46. SecurLinx
    Last question Q5: What are some near future capabilities related to #biometrics that the FBI would really like to add? #biometricchat
  47. MDKConsulting
    A5: #FBI & law enforcement are looking for smaller, faster, cheaper mobile #biometric collection devices; capability for … #biometricchat
  48. MDKConsulting
    A5:…collection at a distance for fingerprints and iris; implementation of a national palm print capability (a high % of … #biometricchat
  49. MDKConsulting
    A5:…crime scene latents are palm prints); and greater accuracy in facial recognition technology for large databases. #biometricchat
  50. BiometricUpdate
    @MDKConsulting is palm a priority for any particular reason, or is it just an indication of technological advancement? #biometricchat
  51. MDKConsulting
    @biometricupdate: Palm print capability will help to solve many crimes which are unsolved without it. Countries, such … #biometricchat
  52. MDKConsulting
    @biometricupdate: …as Australia, which have implemented palms have reported significant increases in latent matches. #biometricchat
  53. SecurLinx
    That’s all folks. Our sincere thanks to @MDKConcultingMike Kirkpartick for taking the time to talk with us: FBI#biometricchat
  54. SecurLinx
    We kept him a little late but hopefully @MDKConsulting(and you) enjoyed our conversation as much as I did.#BiometricChat
  55. MDKConsulting
    Thanks! I’ve appreciated the opportunity to chat about one of my passions! #biometricchat
  56. m2sys
    @MDKConsulting Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, it was extremely informative!#biometricchat
  57. SecurLinx
    Thanks @MDKConsulting! Thanks @m2sys for lending me the #BiometricChat hashtag! & to@BiometricUpdate for the questions!

Michael D. Kirkpatrick FBI Assistant Director in Charge of Criminal Justice Information Services (Ret.) to Discuss Biometrics & Law Enforcement at July #BiometricChat

When: July 19, 2012 — 11:00 am EDT; 8:00 am PDT; 16:00 pm BST; 17:00 pm CEST; 23:00 pm SGT; 0:00 JST

Where: tweetchat.com (hashtag #biometricchat

What: Tweet chat on Biometrics and Law Enforcement with Michael D. Kirkpatrick (@MDKConsulting)

Topics: The past, present and future of biometric ID management applications in law enforcement, interoperability, modalities.

To send questions for the #BiometricChat:
Email: SecurLinx blog
Twitter: @SecurLinx, hashtag #biometricchat

When John at M2SYS asked me to guest host the July #BiometricChat, I immediately thought of Michael Kirkpatrick. I’m happy to announce that he’s agreed to join us. I offer my sincere thanks to both of them for the opportunity.

Michael Kirkpatrick

Michael D. Kirkpatrick, as the FBI’s Assistant Director in Charge of the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division from January 2001 – August 2004, led the Division through profound IT changes especially relating to the application of biometric technologies to the challenges of law enforcement.

Back in the day (i.e. before 1999), fingerprint analysis for law enforcement purposes was a much different ball game. Everything was accomplished with paper, ink, and highly-trained, dedicated  fingerprint analysts. That made law enforcement biometrics pretty much the only biometrics game in town because there weren’t really any commercial applications for that type of set-up. Sure, some professions required criminal background checks, but the fingerprinting part was mostly there to make it easier to catch people in the event they committed crimes at some later date.

Presently, the FBI maintains the world’s largest collection of biometric data and facilitates information sharing between law enforcement organizations and a range of both public and private entities. The CJIS center handles more than 61 million ten-print submissions a year. Average response time for an electronic criminal fingerprint submission is about 27 minutes, Electronic civil submissions are processed within 72 minutes.

The successful transition from a paper system to an Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), presented a range of technical, organizational and managerial challenges such as: What to do with all the paper records; What technical standards to apply to digitization; Determining what confidence level constitutes a match; How to receive input remotely and transmit results;  How to store the information securely; What policies to put in place; Determining whether current international agreements were adequate or forging new ones necessary. The list goes on and on.

Without the hard work sorting out these kinds of questions done by those at CJIS, biometric ID management applications, beginning with fingerprint biometrics, simply would not have nearly the impact in the public and private sectors that they do today. Michael D. Kirkpatrick was one of the many people who helped make it all possible.

Over the course of his career, Michael has done far too many interesting things in law enforcement and biometrics than can be listed here. Thankfully, he has posted a brief overview of some of his experiences at his site, here. He tweets at @MDKConsulting

We hope that you will spread the word among your colleagues and friends and join us Thursday, July 19 at 11am EDT.

Please send questions via:
Email: SecurLinx blog
Twitter: @SecurLinx, hashtag #biometricchat

We’ll publish the chat questions in an update to this post early next week.

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