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Fingerprint Alteration

The widespread deployment of Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) in law enforcement and border control applications has heightened the need for ensuring that these systems are not compromised. While several issues related to fingerprint system security have been investigated, including the use of fake fingerprints for masquerading identity, the problem of fingerprint alteration or obfuscation has received very little attention. Fingerprint obfuscation refers to the deliberate alteration of the fingerprint pattern by an individual for the purpose of masking his identity. Several cases of fingerprint obfuscation have been reported in the press (see Fig. 1). Fingerprint image quality assessment software (e.g. NFIQ) cannot always detect altered fingerprints since the implicit image quality due to alteration may not change significantly. The goals of this research include: (i) analyzing altered fingerprints based on a large altered fingerprint database provided to us by a law enforcement agency, (ii) detecting altered fingerprints automatically at a very low false positive rate (i.e., a natural/unaltered fingerprint is misclassified as altered fingerprint), (iii) restoring altered fingerprints in possible cases, and (iv) matching altered fingerprints to their unaltered mates in the database.

fingerprints fingerprints
(a) (b)
Fig. 1: Inked impressions before and after fingerprint alteration (a) of Gus Winkler (pattern type is altered from double loop to left loop), and (b) of Jose Izquierdo (altered by switching two parts of a Z shaped cut on the fingertip).

S. Yoon, J. Feng, and A. K. Jain, "Altered Fingerprints: Analysis and Detection", IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 451-464, March 2012.

S. Yoon, Q. Zhao, and A. K. Jain, "On Matching Altered Fingerprints", ICB, New Delhi, India, March 29-April 1, 2012.

A. K. Jain and S. Yoon, "Automatic Detection of Altered Fingerprints", IEEE Computer, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 79-82, January, 2012.

J. Feng, A. K. Jain and A. Ross, "Detecting Altered Fingerprints", ICPR, Istanbul, Turkey, August 23-26, 2010.

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