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Researchers Lift Fingerprints From Clothing

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the dust-it-all dept.

Crime 40

cylonlover writes "Refining an existing technique that's been used to successfully recover fingerprint detail from smooth objects such as glass and plastic, forensic scientists have managed to create a kind of photo negative of fingerprint impressions on fabric. It's a bit hit and miss at the moment, but even when clear ridge detail isn't retrieved, the technique could still prove useful to investigators looking for other evidence."

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Didn't I just see that on CSI? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35087756)

Maybe it was NCIS ...

Re:Didn't I just see that on CSI? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087762)

It was Super Troopers [youtube.com]

Re:Didn't I just see that on CSI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35087802)

I think it was The Cape...

Re:Didn't I just see that on CSI? (2)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088298)

I remember seeing something on similar FBI files, which IIRC was over 5 years ago. They had bloodied palm and fingerprints left on a sheet. The problem wasn't so much a lack of evidence but that the pattern of the material intefered with the prints to an extent where a jury couldn't be expected to be able to identify it as a match. They used image processing to essentially subtract the patterning from an unstained area of the material to end up with a relatively clean image.

It was a reasonably interesting episode and for that kind of show and went into quite a bit of detail in the process, because they had to convince the jury how the process worked so they knew it hadn't just been "fiddled with" to suit the prosecution.

Doh.. (3, Funny)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087790)

It never occurred to me that they COULDN'T do so. at least that's the way I always planned my crimes

Re:Doh.. (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087818)

another assumption you should discard after learning the truth is the business of "fingerprint matching"

Re:Doh.. (2)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088104)

Agreed, mainly because I have none. on account of a battery acid accident.

Re:Doh.. (2)

chromas (1085949) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088244)

Aha! Now we finally know who to blame for all those crime scenes where we didn't find any fingerprints.

Re:Doh.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35088312)

Mod parent up. I own the FBI Fingerprint training manual. It's not a real science. It's not quantifiable and is based on inductive reasoning.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science#Induction

There is no data to support the alleged "uniqueness" of fingerprints other than "We checked, like, AT LEAST 100 people, and none of them were identical".

They essentially place dots on distinctive features such as "curves" and "swirls" and then measure the distances between these dots. If a small fraction fall within the "fudge factor" they take in to account to allow for distortion, they consider it conclusive after looking at them side by side.

Imagine Chief Wiggum alternating which eye he closes while holding 2 sheets of paper. I shit you not.

The jailing and torture of the Portland Attorney based on partial print analysis demonstrates how little basis fingerprinting has in reality.

FBI:"We are 100% percent sure this is a match"
2 years later...
CIA:"So... the real bomber just confessed so we've been torturing an innocent man that you were "100% sure" was a match..."
FBI:"Honest mistake. Hey, think of it as the exception that makes the rule!"

Fingerprinting has lost all credibility in my eyes as anything but exonerating or exclusatory evidence.

Re:Doh.. (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088906)

As well as being subjective there is also the issue of partial or distorted prints. It is rare to get a perfect print like they do on CSI.

DNA matching is also not all it's cracked up to be either. Again there are issues with poor samples and the practice of "amplifying" to obtain a usable amount of material. Even with a good sample matching is not 1:1, you only get a probability. At best most real world tests are only accurate to about 1 in 10,000 at best, pretty crappy odds.

Quick! (4, Funny)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087794)

Test the inside of OJ's bloody glove.

Re:Quick! (2)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087856)

Slow! he already admitted to it...

Re:Quick! (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35097104)

sorry, not american.

that part of the story didn't really filter down to australia and it somehow never occurred to me to look it up on the wiki.

Re:Quick! (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35110158)

Quick! somebody invent the light bulb.... oh... sorry.... I live in the Amazon Rain Forest

Re:Quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35088234)

Test Monica's blue dress!

Re:Quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35092116)

You beat me to it! While they are at it, they could check most common presidential hand locations, you know, in order to know how Monica likes to be touched, as we as a /.-collective don't know much about touching women. Then again, I might be talking about myself, actually.

Re:Quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35088320)

Quick, test double fucking jeopardy.

Yeah, it sucks that a murderer gets away sometimes, but we've got protections for the accused for a damn good reason, and breaking the rules in search of a more perfect justice will always do more harm than good.

Re:Quick! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35090596)

Everytime we punish an innocent the real villian goes free.
It is better to let a murderer go free than to both punish an innocent and let a murderer go free.

Re:Quick! (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35097080)

and therefore we should do nothing every time.

I don't actually have an opinion on all this at all - i'm in another country and didn't really follow the case of a practitioner of a brand of football i have no interest in. it's just all that was on the news for a good while anywhere in the world. i put it down to a slow news year.

Re:Quick! (1)

dwillden (521345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35094024)

The original print was ruined when he put the gloves on during the trial.

Is it 1985 again? (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087846)

A clever technique involving lasers and polarised light to detect fingerprints on clothing was used in 1985 in New Zealand to catch the murderers of an environmental activist.

Re:Is it 1985 again? (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087890)

There's probably not a lot on the net due to how long abo it was but here's one thing in L-space:

P. D. Drummond, Green Light on the Rainbow Warrior. Auckland Applied Research Office Information Bulletin, (1987). [ Article on the use of lasers for forensic work, which successfully identified the terrorists who sank the Rainbow Warrior - a civilian vessel in Auckland Harbour.]

Burn the clothes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35087864)

I always figured the microscopic blood splatter or that one tiny hair would be the give-away. In the movies, the (smart?) criminals burn the clothes.

Re:Burn the clothes? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088000)

A good movie would have a clean room or hazmat suit for all, then burn. Make it look gang, cult or medical issue/suicide for extra reality.
The Shooter, Michael Clayton ect.

Re:Burn the clothes? (3, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088008)

Not really that smart - just look for the people with burnt clothes!

Researchers Lift Fingerprints From Clothing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35087962)

...the problem? It only works with vinyl clothing. The good news, however, is that conviction rates among criminal participants in the S&M industry have gone up 70%.

Re:Researchers Lift Fingerprints From Clothing... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088036)

TFA

The success rate for recovery is still quite low, with only around 20 percent of the public said to consistently leave good ridge detail or indicate target areas for DNA collection due to the presence of sweat.

Maybe they should sweat more.

Re:Researchers Lift Fingerprints From Clothing... (2)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088250)

Maybe they should sweat more

Scene: Guy running in dark street, jumping over blown over garbage cans, with blue and red lights flashing distantly. Audible panting heard by audience as the man runs.

Voice-over: In a real bind? Needing to leave no trace behind?

(Cut to clip of hand slamming down product)

Voice-over: NEW, Degree Double-Homicide. Ultra-Maximum, Uber-Clinical Strength Protection against perspiration. Dryness protection that won't break down until you break state lines.

Bible-tech (2, Funny)

sixthousand (676886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35087986)

I believe this is the same technique Jesus used to create the Shroud of Turin. (~)

Re:Bible-tech (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088060)

really? I've seen at least 1 doco claiming it was Leo da vinci.

Re:Bible-tech (1)

sixthousand (676886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088150)

To be clear, that was tounge-in-cheek.

Why tagged YRO? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088056)

In understand that involve fabrics... but still quite a distance from a cloth to censoring-the-pipes (Web-ified or not).

Re:Why tagged YRO? (1)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088148)

Maybe they're going to clog the pipes with censored cloth?

Re:Why tagged YRO? (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35088268)

YRO = Your RIghts Online, or Your Rights, Online?

Comma can make a difference there. Maybe the section is evolving from what it was. Or, maybe someone got a little jumpy.

Re:Why tagged YRO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35089162)

In understand that involve fabrics... but still quite a distance from a cloth to censoring-the-pipes (Web-ified or not).

Umm, maybe cloth == fabric == switching fabric == network == intertubez?

I dunno man. I think yro kind of means "anything related to surveillance, forensics, or the law". Based on the kinds of stories tagged with 'yro', I think we should just quit using it and replace it with "tinfoilhat".

Re:Why tagged YRO? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090916)

Until they require fingerprint scanners in everyone's 'Enter' key.

Finger Printing is a Fake Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35089038)

It may be reliable when working with a small pool of suspects, but It's statistically invalid and relies more on "Professional Opinion" than proven science.

It should never be used as anything more than circumstantial evidence because the margin of error is far too high and highly variable depending on fingerprint condition, the examiner, and examiner bias.

Easily fooled... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35089272)

... one can just put molded plastic over ones fingers, or wear "fake hands". With the plastic tech now available people can leave less trace of themselves behind.

Impressions. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35089408)

"Refining an existing technique that's been used to successfully recover fingerprint detail from smooth objects such as glass and plastic, forensic scientists have managed to create a kind of photo negative of fingerprint impressions on fabric. It's a bit hit and miss at the moment, but even when clear ridge detail isn't retrieved, the technique could still prove useful to investigators looking for other evidence."

Your Honor I didn't grab her 'couch'! Oh wait, wrong prints.

Filed under YRO (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092246)

File this under "your rights on linen"

- RG>

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