Indian police deploy wearable biometric fingerprint scanners and app to identify suspects


Police in Karnataka, India, have deployed handheld scanners and a new app connected to the force’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to check the criminal records of suspicious people on the go via finger biometrics.

The news was reported by The Indian Expresswho said handheld fingerprint scanners have access to a database of more than 200,000 fingerprints of criminals involved in property crimes in the region.

The move is part of a project called Mobile-Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (M-CCTNS), which would have seen the deployment of approximately 2,500 new biometric devices to police stations across the state.

Each scanner costs INR 2,500 (about US$31), with four or five devices being provided to police stations with large numbers of cases and two to other smaller stations.

The manufacturer of the biometric scanners is not disclosed in the report. A video of ETV Bharat from a similar system used in Bengaluru appears to show scanners with Light-Emitting Sensor technology, i.e., built-in biometrics.

Initially deployed to identify burglars based on fingerprints collected by police forces at crime scenes, AFIS is now also used by police officers on patrol to identify people moving suspiciously.

According to The Indian Express, biometric devices have scanned 93,645 fingerprints over the past year and a half and found 3,294 matches with criminal records.

The digital biometrics system software – a mobile application – was created by Capulus Technologiesa technology partner involved in the M-CCTNS project.

Karnataka Police Launches M-CCTNS App

The company recently released a case study on the M-CCTNS application, highlighting its functionalities and its role in the project.

According to Capulus Technologies, the M-CCTNS application is modular. It provides police officers with real-time access to criminal profiles and history, as well as crime mapping and analysis capabilities.

Additionally, the app offers functionality to help officers coordinate arrests across jurisdictions, conduct vehicle crime searches, and access missing persons and unnatural deaths (UDR) information.

As mentioned above, the M-CCTNS application is also a counterpart of wearable biometric scanners. The software communicates with external handheld fingerprint scanners connected to the mobile phone and provides an interface to scan individual fingerprints.

The app then communicates the captured fingerprint to a central biometric gateway via application programming interfaces (APIs) and sends it to AFIS, which performs fingerprint identification on the database and gets the result .

Suppose the M-CCTNS application finds a positive ID. In this case, the fingerprint results are linked to the criminal’s demographic details in the Person of Interest module, and a related criminal profile is displayed on the officer’s phone.

Three other States are said to be in advanced stages of deploying the M-CCTNS system.

India’s new law specifies biometric equipment standards

The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022 came into force in India in August, officially replacing the Identification of Prisoners Act 1920.

Originally passed in April 2022, the legislation empowers police to collect biometric data but, more broadly, also requires the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to develop a standard operating procedure to specify biometric data collection equipment and devices.

This will include the digital and physical format in which the measurements will be taken, according to recent analysis by Economic times.

Further, the new law requires the NCRB to list the means of data processing and storage in states and Union Territories (UTs) across India.

Article topics

biometric identification | biometrics | Capulus Technologies | criminal identification | fingerprint biometrics | fingerprint scanners | India | mobile app | mobile device | police


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