Live Scan Detection of Masked Fingerprints

Main Article Content

Chantelle Foster


When an individual is fingerprinted it is usually a frontline police officer, a jail guard, or an investigator who scans the individuals prints, not a fingerprint expert. Thus, the fingerprint recording machine, Live Scan, is heavily relied upon to produce high quality fingerprint scans. When someone covers up their fingerprint, they are temporarily altering the print. This can be done using different materials such as nail polish or glue. Fingerprints hold a large amount of individualizing information, but once they are covered-up this information is lost. This research examines how the Live Scan reacts to attempts at covering up fingerprints. Will the Live Scan detect the altered fingerprint, or will it scan the print with no error? This presentation will show you multiple images of scanned fingerprints with different materials covering up the prints. You will see what a scan of real fingerprints should look like and what a scan of covered-up fingerprints looks like. Overall, the fingerprint recording machine did accept the covered-up fingerprints but not without some warning to the individual running the machine. This research was conducted to provide frontline police officers, jail guards, and investigators with an idea of what a scan of a fingerprint cover up could look like.

Article Details

Politics and the Law
Author Biography

Chantelle Foster

Faculty of Environment, Archaeology