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Fingerprints Recoverable From Cleaned Metal

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the leaving-a-mark dept.

Security 178

dstates points out a recent article from guardian.co.uk which discusses a new method by which to recover fingerprints from metal. The method relies on corrosion caused by sweat and other biological residues on the metal's surface. Quoting: "The patterns of corrosion remain even after the surface has been cleaned, heated to 600C or even painted over. This means that traces of fingerprints stay on the metal long after the residue from a person's finger has gone. The chemical basis of the change is not yet clear, but [Dr. John Bond] believes it is corrosion by chloride ions from the salt in sweat. These produce lines of corrosion along the ridges of the fingerprint residue. When the metal is heated, for example in a bomb blast or when a gun is fired, the chemical reaction actually speeds up and makes the corrosion more pronounced."

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Plastic weapons (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893721)

This will open up the renaissance of plastic weapons.

Re:Plastic weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893843)

This will open up the renaissance of plastic weapons.

Or rubber grips.

Re:Plastic weapons (5, Insightful)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893873)

This will open up the renaissance of plastic weapons.
Or, you know, gloves.

Re:Plastic weapons (1)

robogobo (891804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894125)

just don't get the gloves "messied".

Or salted lemon wet naps (3, Insightful)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894275)

I mean come on - not too hard to get around, but still it's interesting.

Re:Plastic weapons (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893913)

Great, now someone will think my plastic AK-47 is real. Thanks a lot, Science!

Re:Plastic weapons (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894427)

Or perhaps it will cause criminals to start taking better care of their guns. A well oiled gun won't have this problem.

Wish I could tag... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893727)

Bond, John Bond.

Look out for people with white gloves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893729)

They're probably criminals trying not to leave fingerprints, or Michael Jackson imitators.

Damnit! (3, Funny)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893743)

Damnit! I knew I should have used plastic vats to hide the bodies!

Re:Damnit! (3, Funny)

txoof (553270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894923)

Yeah, using hydrofluoric acid in the bathtub is a BAD IDEA (tm).

There's a great Scene in Breaking Bad where Jessee tries to dispose of a body in a tub using hydrofluoric acid and a disgusting cheese body gloop falls through the ceiling after the HF eats the tub.

Re:Damnit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23895141)

Don't tell Hans Reiser about this.

I wonder (4, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893745)

how many peices of evidence for earlier crimes we can now find a print where we couldn't before? Maybe solve an unsolved crime or two, or free someone innocent? The ramifications for Iraq alone where we can match prints on IED remnants to current detainees is enough to keep me interested.

Re:I wonder (5, Insightful)

txoof (553270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893817)

That's a really good question; it could be a huge boon for unsolved cases, vindicating wrongfully convicted individuals. I could also be a huge disaster for police departments. Thousands upon thousands of individuals appealing for reexamination of fingerprint evidence could swamp crime labs.

That being said, it is far worse to convict an innocent individual than to let a guilty man go free.

Re:I wonder (2, Interesting)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894083)

Except now we're all going to be fingerprinted so they can match these rogue fingerprints.

Re:I wonder (5, Insightful)

cluckshot (658931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894193)

This really drives one to another issue. The longevity of the fingerprints will remove their value. All a finger print proves is proximity. As long as a finger print is there, it proves nothing but attendance. If it was a bio-subtance it had a short life span making it not only presence in definition but also proximity in time. That made finger prints useful. The problem here is that these now become "Undated" finger prints and as such unable to be related to events which was their only value in crime ID other than to have a list of suspects. This points out the most amazing reality about the crime "proof" we see in labs today. For the most part science is destroying evidence entirely. For example: Photos once were valuable. Then retouching started. Then it went to digital where retouching could be infinite. In the end, a photo is little more than fiction in court. Sound prints same. Now we see the ability of the police to fabricate evidence against someone to fullest extent unless we all are aware of what can be done.

Re:I wonder (5, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894335)

Just imagine all the suspects involved with fingerprints on the brass cartridges:

1. The packing person who took the cartridges and placed them in a cardboard box.

2. The shop owner who took the cartridge out of the box to ensure it was a match with what the customer wanted.

3. The actual person who loaded the weapon.

If one fingerprint overwrites another, then it's not a problem. But what if the corrosion effect is additive and you get two patterns merged together. Would forensic experts be able to separate the two or would they get false positives with other fingerprints of innocent people?

Re:I wonder (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894453)

Even though it's wrong target, you can still trace back to see to whom shop owner sold those cartridges. With out those fingerprints it's unlikely that you will be able to identify who sold them. Checking trade records might lead you to the correct target. If you're talking about a murder case or assassination such evidence is invaluable to resolve the case. It may have more value than the actual fingerprint of the shot man.

Re:I wonder (1)

txoof (553270) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895673)

Just imagine all the suspects involved with fingerprints on the brass cartridges:

1. The packing person who took the cartridges and placed them in a cardboard box.

2. The shop owner who took the cartridge out of the box to ensure it was a match with what the customer wanted.

3. The actual person who loaded the weapon.

It's not that big of a deal to eliminate individuals once the prints have been pulled. If a crime is committed in say Idaho, and the shells were manufactured and packaged in Virginia and prints from A (criminal), B (packager), C (store owner) are pulled, it's trivial to eliminate the B set as being irrelevant.

Under normal circumstances, person B will be flagged as a suspect (because her prints are on the brass) and once it is determined that she was in Virginia when the crime was committed, she will be eliminated from the suspect list. Persons A and C are the only ones of interest left and are of course both valuable witnesses in the investigation. This is how any traditional fingerprint evidence is treated. Prints are gathered, irrelevant prints are excluded and the remaining prints are kept until they prove to be useful.

Re:I wonder (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894415)

Well this could be used to exonorate people. I mean you can make a reasonable doubt argument that.

Hey if I shoot him then you should be able to find a finger print on the gun, given the whitness says I did not ware gloves. Since you can't its resonable the whitness is lying or mistaken as they often are.

This could be a big help to the falsely accused.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894531)

Besides the fact it would be impossible to deny you held the murder weapon unless you always have gloves on.

I'm sure a lot of crimes were committed in places the defendant said they were never at or shouldn't be and that alone could do some damage.

Let alone being able to harvest massive amounts of finger prints.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894551)

Of course the ability to find old fingerprints doesn't mean it's no longer possible to dust for prints the traditional way. You know, the way that does prove proximity in time?

Digital photos can still be evidence! (1)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895847)

The requirements are pretty though though:

You need a special camera version which contains firmware (hopefully tamperproof) which uses public key crypto to digitally sign each photo as it taken, making it possible to prove that the photo file hasn't been modified at all.

One example is the Fujifilm IS Pro which can be delivered in this form:

dpreview Fuji IS Pro review [dpreview.com]

Terje

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894231)

"That being said, it is far worse to convict an innocent individual than to let a guilty man go free."

At a one/one ratio, but some friendly casualties are inevitable. We accept a certain baseline of victims and injured/KIA police as the cost of fighting crime. We also tacitly accept a few wrongful convictions...

Re:I wonder (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894533)

Would you feel the same if they would put you into jail for many years for something you haven't done?

Re:I wonder (3, Interesting)

muridae (966931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894541)

"That being said, it is far worse to convict an innocent individual than to let a guilty man go free."

At a one/one ratio, but some friendly casualties are inevitable. We accept a certain baseline of victims and injured/KIA police as the cost of fighting crime. We also tacitly accept a few wrongful convictions...

When does the ratio become acceptable or unacceptable? At 10:1; 1:1; 1:1,000,000 or at either extreme, "Even the innocent should be jailed if it means we catch all the guilty people." or "The guilty should go free rather then an innocent person be jailed."

Re:I wonder (4, Informative)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895641)

This question was raised and discussed by Alexander Volokh in n Guilty Men [ucla.edu] .

Re:I wonder (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895925)

I wasn't claiming to be the first to bring up the question. The post I replied to said that 'we also tacitly accept a few wrongful convictions...' and I wanted to know what the poster's opinion on that N was.

Perhaps, in this time of fear mongering, it might be better to turn the question around and ask "How many innocent people should be jailed in order to catch all the guilty?" But, I wonder, how many people would recognize that an answer less then 'all' would still allow some guilty people to go free.

Re:I wonder (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 5 years ago | (#23896063)

I wasn't claiming to be the first to bring up the question.
Oh, I wasn't trying to put you in your place or anything like that. :) I was merely suggesting further reading to you and to the grandparent. I was very impressed by the research done in that essay -- it's quite a masterpiece.

Cheers.

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

Digital End (1305341) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894887)

That being said, it is far worse to convict an innocent individual than to let a guilty man go free.


Tell that to the next rape victom.

Life isn't black and white, I loath short high and mighty quotes that try to paint it that way.

Re:I wonder (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895033)

Or to the innocent man/woman locked up for life for a case of mistaken identity...

The question is, at what ratio of imprisoned innocents vs freed guilty is suffering minimized?

Re:I wonder (1)

Digital End (1305341) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895955)

A ratio is also black and white. I'd let loose every pot dealer in prison to prevent one innocent from going to jail, but I'd risk an innocent to keep in a rapist/murderer... and I'm sure everyone would have their own ratio.

That's the bitch about law, it's a black and white in a grey world. The trick is putting the line in the right place.

Re:I wonder (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895893)

DNA already does a pretty good job vindicating the wrongfully accused, and contrary to what you might expect there aren't very many of them. I dont recall the name of the site, but I recently had to do a report about the death penalty in college and one of the sources I found was a watchdog site that helped people on death row get exonerated. They had a list of all the people across the country who had been released from death row due to DNA testing and it was under 100 in the past 15 years. I dont have links because it was in the colleges academic library, but I also found an interesting report about the amount of people applying for DNA testing and the costs/time it takes to complete them. Only small portion of those who applied for the testing were actually innocent, the rest were just trying to stall and buy time because they knew they were guilty. Open fingerprinting testing and you would likely get the same result. As you say, the swamping of crime labs.

I dont think this is going to change very much when it comes to old cases. New cases maybe, but its not as accurate as DNA and so I think that will still lead when it comes to unsolved/wrongfully convicted cases.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893895)

Even better, they can collect prints on the huge stockpiles of WMD's they found and start prosecuting the new allies.

Re:I wonder (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894159)


how many peices of evidence for earlier crimes we can now find a print where we couldn't before?

How many pieces of evidence are now ruined, because there wasn't a careful procedure followed in the chain of evidence where nobody touched it? A bullet casing or bomb fragment being criss-crossed with fingerprints isn't exactly going to make this technique any easier.

Re:I wonder (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894839)

That's not going to slow anyone down.

it will be easy to run an algorithm that separates one fingerprint from another - ESPECIALLY if they're blatantly differing fingerprints and one of them exists multiple times on the same object.

This would be like trying to read the stamp on an envelope after the post office has notorized it.
hardly cause for alarm.

Re:I wonder (2, Interesting)

badran (973386) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894163)

I wonder how many fingerprints can be gathered from the remains of a pipe from some IED that was forged from junk and derby. I guess you can even find a print from a plumber who installed that pipe under the sink? Or a print of a shop keeper who was selling pipes, does it make him a bad person?? What if that person was detained for some reason?? Now with a print from a pipe that he sold is will be shipped to some remote location and,,,,,

Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (2, Interesting)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893751)

At least as it is currently practiced. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (2, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893825)

From what I gather there, it's not the methodology that's at fault, it's human error. Perhaps they need better training? In the end I wouldn't say that what we currently have is useless, but only that we should trust those examining the fingerprints a little less, perhaps.

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894059)

Quite right, but a sensationalistic subject line such as 'Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless' tends to attract karma.

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894075)

And yet it is still used to convince juries.

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894387)

You could have come up with a better webpage than that. The Shirley Mckie [slashdot.org] case is a good place to start. The original event happened in January 14th, 1997. A decade later, a public enquiry is only just about to start in September 2008. There is a Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org]

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894869)

The correct link is here [shirleymckie.com] .

Preview is your friend, take advantage of it. :-)

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#23894997)

Is that James Baldwin the writer? Regardless, that quote makes no sense.

Re:Too Bad Fingerprinting is Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23896031)

Yes, and it made perfect sense. In the 50s and 60s Jews were just starting to be "white" in the eyes of the culture at large. By embracing this new identity middle class assimilationist Jews were leaving blacks behind politically. Many black intellectuals felt betrayed and abandoned. And many Jews agreed with them.

Portability? (1)

txoof (553270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893753)

This is some seriously cool tech. I wonder if there will be a portable method available. It sounds like it takes some wicked voltage to kick off the process, so it would work great in the lab, but not so great in the field.

This isn't even remotely a problem for bomb fragments, guns or other regularly handled objects. It becomes more of a problem for large objects attached to or part of buildings. This does not diminish the way-coolness of this discovery, however.

Wooden bat never fails (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893769)

I'll stick to the wood bat as weapon of choice for murder, it can easily be disposed of with fire.

Re:Wooden bat never fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893829)

Or you can do the "Terminator 2" thing. Put metal into a big melting pot.

I have never have any luck to remove my fingerprints off shiny metal surfaces when I open up electronics. :P

What happen if someone pour bleach or salt all over the metal surface (after degreasing it) ?

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894935)

Or you could just take the simple precaution of picking up your spent cases if you're using a semi-automatic gun.

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

seyyah (986027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893845)

Good old bat, nothing beats bat.

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

Zosden (1303873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893903)

Or chairs

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894149)

Except paper.

Wrong game (4, Funny)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894323)

He's not playing Rock-Paper-Scissor, he's playing Bat-AcidSoakedSponge-Saw. The hand motions are a little strange though.

Re:Wrong game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894739)

Cat-Tinfoil-Microwave anyone?

Re:Wooden bat never fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893925)

Best weapon, least trace-able.

Icicle. Use it, melt it! Away washes the evidence.

Re:Wooden bat never fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894389)

Better weapon: Frozen lake
Just imagine finding prints.

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894411)

I bet an autopsy could reveal frostbite around the wound.

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894507)

Wouldn't that be a given in an area full of icicles?

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894569)

Why not a frozen leg of lamb? Once the murder is done, it's a tasty treat for the officers investigating!

Re:Wooden bat never fails (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895465)

We have an Alfred Hitchcock fan here! I've actually seen the ancient episode where the murderous wife fed the lamb to the police, investigating her home.

How Long Do They Have to be There (4, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893799)

How long do the fingerprints have to be on the metal to corrode it enough to get a good fingerprint from this method? For example, if the perpetrator uses a cloth to wipe the fingerprints off the metal immediately after the crime, will the metal have corroded enough to still give a fingerprint by this method? Or do the fingerprints need to be there for some time in order to corrode the metal enough to give a good print? And if they wipe the fingerprints off is there still enough residue to still corrode the metal, or will they need to wipe the fingerprints off using some sort of solvent or cleaner? etc. etc. etc. It would be interesting to here more.

Re:How Long Do They Have to be There (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893847)

I couldn't really find how long the print had to be there in TFA, but it did say that once the print is on there, abrasive methods had to be used to remove it, i.e. removing a layer of the metal.

Re:How Long Do They Have to be There (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894015)

A good print would presumably require a good surface finish, bullet casings are rolled from sheet I don't imagine you'd get a print of a knurled finish. The article says brass corrodes well, yet copper and zinc both have high resistance to corrosion -- but perhaps not so with chlorides? Furthermore water based cutting coolants are corrosive (and not everything is well cleaned after manufacture), to say nothing about objects that are chromed/lacquered for decorative or protective finish.

Re:How Long Do They Have to be There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893939)

Dear theshowmecanuck:

You have been found guilty of future crimes for which you may commit for your desire of the knowledge of the circumvention of our new forensic techniques.

Signed, The Thought Police

Corrosion is a complicated subject (5, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894471)

I have actually done research into chloride corrosion of brasses, and the answer is that it is enormously variable. Whether the brass is turned or stamped, the temperature, the number of steps in the stamping process, the sharpness of turning tools, the final treatment (grind to size, polish etc.) all affect the rate of attack. One would expect much the same for other metals, though considerable research would be needed. This will probably become a nice little earner for expert witnesses.

Re:Corrosion is a complicated subject (1)

etully (158824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894791)

Can we examine pieces of metal from hundreds of years ago? Can we find out what George Washington's fingerprints looked like?

Re:How Long Do They Have to be There (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894757)

Or what if you "clean" the gun with something corrosive?

Passvation layers? (2, Insightful)

gboss (968444) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893827)

What about metals with passivation layers, such as aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel? TFA does not address this at all... Sure, brass may be the main metal that they are going to need for shell casings, but a lot of guns are made with stainless steel.

Re:Passvation layers? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895007)

And of those guns that aren't made with stainless, they're usually blued, Parkerized, Tennifered, etc. so your question is more than just a minor nit-pick. The finish on practically every gun made is designed specifically to resist corrosion.

Re:Passvation layers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23895289)

id never heard of passivation layers before today....

Oh right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893835)

Mr. Bond!

In the gun store... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893851)

Then I'll have the Magnum and a plastic skin... well... maybe that pink one with the nice flowers...

Fingerprint readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23893937)

So fingerprint readers are still less secure than they used to be. Any good non-marketing reason to have them built in every high end notebook?

wear gloves (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893965)

I wonder how sweaty one should be, for how long the finger should be on the surface of a bullet for it to leave such a corrosive mark, and also whether this applies to other metals, such as stainless steel?

In any case, wear gloves even while putting bullets into your guns ;)

Re:wear gloves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894003)

In any case, wear gloves even while putting bullets into your guns ;)

Thanks, Already do.

Re:wear gloves (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894085)

Blah, lost post the first time i tried this.. anyone else have problems with safari blowing up on trying to post?

Be sure to wear you gloves when building bombs too, and use a "clean box" so you don't leave any DNA behind.

As far as bullets, if you only touch the cartridge, you wouldn't be leaving any prints on the bullet.. You are taking your cartridges with you and not leaving them at the crime scene, right?

Re:wear gloves (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895079)

And even if you do leave prints on the bullet, they're not going to be too useful once the bullet expands, even if you're using fully-jacketed rounds for some ridiculous reason.

Seeing the wood for the trees (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23893977)

If the fingerprints are that persistent, then lots of other marks are going to be there too - probably including lots of other fingerprints. The hard part's not going to be detecting the prints, but separating the relevant ones out from the rest of the item's history.

Archaeology Applications (5, Interesting)

xdancergirlx (872890) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894017)

Does this mean that we can see the fingerprints of people that handled old metal objects/chalices/swords/etc.? Maybe it would just be an item of curiousity to have a copy of Julius Ceasar's or Queen Elizabeth's fingerprints but I would put it on my wall! Maybe we could learn something about how fingerprints have changed (or not) over the course of history.

Re:Archaeology Applications (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894113)

In theory, ya.

Re:Archaeology Applications (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894827)

Less likely with swords though. No good swordsman ever touches their blade, only the handle, and that is wrapped, most often in leather. This is because fingerprints will corrode the metal. Swords aren't made of stainless steel, they rust quite easily. Normal sword care involves re-polishing the blade regularly, which should remove fingerprint corrosion if present. Chalices are another story, of course.

Re:Archaeology Applications (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895261)

...if no one else touches the item!

Re:Archaeology Applications (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895295)

Can this process be done without damaging the object, though? I don't think many archaeologists would want to risk the destruction of an artefact simply because there *might* be a fingerprint on it which *might* have belonged to so-and-so.

- RG>

Excuse me... (1)

ROMRIX (912502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894203)

I have to go smelt something real quick...

Re:Excuse me... (1)

sponglish (759074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894287)

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury:

The one who smelt it, dealt it!

corrosion? how much? (3, Interesting)

Luke_22 (1296823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894279)

Great method, ok, but i dubt it works for everyone.

ok, we all have some corrosive sweat or alike in our skin, but that doesn't mean we all drop out the same amount of corrosive liquid.

there are people who can not touch a motherboard 'cause it would end with a big mark on the metal, it could even lead to malfunction, this is well known in the industry... I guess they borrowed their idea from here...

but how much of this corrosive is required for this method to work?
also, saying "metal" is saying all and nothing... there are metals that corrode easily, others that don't...

Re:corrosion? how much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894513)

Yea, cause then how far could you take it? Would it be corrosive enough to make metal parts (on things such as airplanes, cars, etc) that have been handled by manufacturing workers, fail?

Probably not, but it would be an interesting theory to test....

Re:corrosion? how much? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894527)

I don't know the details of this particular technique, but I recently came across an approach to getting fingerprints from fired bullet casings developed by some guys at Swansea which relied on Van der Waals forces - the amount of contact required is very small.

WTF, haven't we known this? (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894383)

I swear I read the same thing in "The Hardy Boy Detective Handbook" as a kid.

Re:WTF, haven't we known this? (1)

Llamalarity (806413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894773)

Nope, not in the 1959 edition. (1971 printing) Did they revise it for you whippersnappers? "The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook" does however give a very detailed explanation of the basics of fingerprinting. Which probably has not changed much since then.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Re:WTF, haven't we known this? (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894855)

I do have the original; I could swear they mention that a fire will make fingerprints more permanent. I could be completely mistaken, though. I can't believe I missed that "s."

JFK (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894461)

Now we can prove whether Oswald killed JFK.

SANDPAPER! (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894467)

SANDPAPER!

fail!

Not new (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23894933)

I'm pretty sure this is not new, or at least the basic idea isn't. In fact, I recall reading a detective story set near the start of the fingerprinting era, where an old murder case (from before fingerprints were used) was solved by the detective using a fingerprint that was actually visible in corrosion on the doorknob of the room the murder took place in, the room having been closed off since the murder.

Who has them now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23894959)

This makes me wonder about the 9mm Luger that I had stolen a few years ago. Also I wonder about my buddy's Army 45 that we swapped at the firing range that he also lost!

NaCl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23895015)

It is an extremely expensive and time consuming procedure, but one could always subject the weapon to an NaCl bath.... Course, then, only millionaires would get away with murder.

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23895149)

This is FUD. Sorry but you can not get finger prints from this. The acidic chemical nature of finger prints, mainly the sweat, is not strong enough to continue to be detected after a strong cleaning. No matter what microscope or detection you use.

And if it could be(which it is not!), just clean the material in a sweat type solution to blank out everything. Remeber most prints smug and require more then 1 to make an offical match, don't believe what you see on TV.

Possible to reliable ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23895343)

The route from "it is possible to" to "we can reliably do" is a long one, and filled with obstacles.

Let's see some real world operational-use results first, before getting all excited. If it reliably works as implied, it looks like a very useful tool indeed.

-srr

yuo fail 1t. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23895835)

That puts me at how many crime scenes? (1)

Kasis (918962) | more than 5 years ago | (#23895859)

When I left school I had a job in a metalwork factory, and our area of business was the hand driers you find in public toilets. We made several types with metal covers, and during my time there I probably handled thousands of the things.

I wonder how often my fingerprints will appear at crime scenes now?

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