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The desire to enhance justice in the society explains the birth of fingerprinting as a form of biometric security. The 19th Century saw significant development in fingerprinting especially in the Asian Countries; the Asians have a great degree of resemblance, this makes it hard to tell them apart. This meant that facial appearance alone was not sufficient in identifying a given person as the perpetrator of a crime. In India, a crisis loomed in the justice system where the sentenced criminals walked away freely while their innocent relatives served their prison terms. This called for action from all members of the society. William Herschel, while serving as a magistrate in India, discovered the usefulness of application of the uniqueness of the features of fingerprints in telling apart different people (Bentham, 2009). Herschel was indeed able to combat fraud in pension claims in Hooghly where he also served as the magistrate. At this time, fingerprinting was not a scientific solution to security problems but rather an ad hoc one. It was later in 1880s that Francis Galton, a scientist, who had developed an interest in fingerprinting after studying articles written by Herschel that eventually, brought out the scientific aspect of fingerprinting.

            Fingerprinting grew rapidly in the 20th century. By 1924, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintained more than 250 million civil files of for the purpose of criminal investigation and the identification of unknown casualties. All these fingerprint files were based on print ink. This required that the person whose fingerprints were to be obtained had to deep his/ her index finger into a jar of ink then touch a special paper which could then enhance the transfer of the finger prints. It was in 1960 that fingerprinting technology made a major milestone; the birth of ‘lives-scan’. This new technology meant that fingerprints could be obtained without the use of print ink. The FBI immediately adapted the use of Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS), this was a remarkable breakthrough of today’s live-scan technology.

            Technological development has enabled the discovery of other methods of individual identification through collection and storage of different biometric data of these individuals. Today, the biometric data that stored in security data bases worldwide varies from basic physical features of individuals like; height, color, hair color and style, weight, voice and behavioral traits like; handwriting, typing, walking style and others. Other biometric data that is stored is the inherent traits such as the DNA, which involves the use of sophisticated technology. It is however important to note that despite the advances made in areas such as DNA profiling; fingerprinting is still viewed as the best form of individual identification for criminal investigation purposes (Chris, 2001). Unlike in the past, fingerprinting has won a lot of support in the United States especially after the September, 11 terrorist attack. This acceptance has boosted research into technological improvement of the process of taking the fingerprints and also maintenance of the fingerprints’ security database to ensure that it becomes inaccessible by unauthorized persons.

            With the current technology, fingerprint identification process involves two fundamental procedures, that is, enrollment and authentication. Real-time image acquisition is usually enhanced by use of either optical or non-optical means. For feature extraction, two methods are usually used when making a comparison between the input fingerprints and the image stored in the data base. One way of doing is the direct comparison of the two images for compatibility. The second method, the most effective of the two requires examination of minutes features of each image.

 

 How is the technology being used?

            Fingerprinting provides the solution to most of the security problems. Law enforcers in corporation with forensic scientists have been able to identify and prosecute perpetrators of criminal activities in the society. The uniqueness of finger prints of each individual makes it hard for a suspect of a crime activity to walk away scot free once arrested with evidence showing compatibility between the fingerprints at the crime scene and those of the suspect. Unlike the fingerprints gathered using print ink as was the case before the invention of scan-printing, which were of poor quality, development in technology has enhanced law enforcers to collect high quality fingerprints at the crime scenes. This has indeed been instrumental in prosecution of criminals (Lyon, 2007).

            In the wake of increased terrorism activities, it has since become important that border surveillance be beefed up. Fingerprinting has been essential in ensuring that suspected terrorists do not penetrate the borders using forged travel documents. Advanced technology has enabled terrorists and other criminals to have the ability to make forged documents appear real and hence use them to travel and cause mayhem. Once the fingerprints of the suspects are taken and stored in the security database, it becomes tough for these terror suspects to access the ports or the airports using their forged documents. Their fingerprints are bound to mismatch with those of the people they claim to be and are hence arrested. Fingerprint technology is therefore a crucial tool in the fight against terrorism not only by Americans but the entire world.

            Biometric fingerprint technology has gone beyond forensic use in combating crime. Modern high-tech electronic devices make use fingerprint technology. Entrance control and door-lock applications, fingerprint identification mouses, fingerprint mobile phones are just but examples of devices that appreciate biometric fingerprint technology. These devices are tailored to meet interests of an individual. It is only the designated individual whose fingerprints are incorporated in the product that can have an access to such a device. In this case, the individual’s unique fingerprint features act as the password for the device. To start the device, the individual is therefore required to touch the device using his/ her fingers since they have the recognized fingerprints. This technology has become important in bringing down crime rates involving such devices since stealing them amounts top wasted effort as no amount of effort can see the device put in use.

            E-commerce has been boosted by the invention of biometric fingerprint technology. This technology has encouraged more people to trust networks since majority feared for the security of the on-line transactions. Fingerprints have since become a simple, trusted and convenient method of personal authentication. Passwords and tokens are universally disliked and the requirement of a fingerprint has since become a solution.

            Biometric fingerprint technology has found use in easing congestion at the airports and ports where personal authentication is required. Scanning of fingerprints takes only a few seconds and is very accurate. This therefore means that the long queues that have in the past characterized these places will be a thing of the past once this technology is embraced in all terminal points in the country and world over. This will save a lot of time and the hustle that has been witnessed in the past.

 

How will this technology change the economy?

            Fingerprinting technology is going to have tremendous impact on the economy. To begin with; creation of employment opportunities. As the technology becomes popular in the market, a good number of people are going to find job opportunities in the companies charged with the manufacture of fingerprint scanners or even as software developers. A revolution in the nature of electronic devices is coming since most of the current devices especially communication devices for example mobile phones use passwords which will be replaced by fingerprints. Another group of people will find direct employment in teaching or demonstrating to consumers on the use of the devices that makes use of this new technology. It is however crucial to note that as this job opportunities will be created, a number of people will also lose their jobs as this technology struggles to win a market share, while a number will be absorbed. For instance, the people doing personal authentication at the ports and such areas are likely to be trained on the use of the fingerprint scanners and as such will not lose their jobs. The group that is likely to lose jobs is that involved in the production of devices that will be phased out by the new technology. Their job security will only depend on how fast their employers switch to the production of the products that incorporate the current technological requirements (Chris, 2001).

            Fingerprinting will create a secure environment for business activities. As mentioned earlier, it seen as a major boost top e-commerce. E-commerce is growing rapidly and anything that boosts e-commerce is a major boost to the growth of the economy. It is therefore true that the economy is going to grow significantly as more people are going to be willing to invest upon the realization of better security in the country. Security is an impetus to economic growth; in the wake of fingerprinting, security is one area that will greatly benefit.

 

What will it contribute to production of material wealth?

            The enhanced security will be main enhancer of creation of material wealth. It is a fact that many people who fear taking risks as result of uncertainity in their security and that of their material wealth prefer to have their money in the banks instead of investing it. With improved security, the risk averts will also invest their money and hence contribute to wealth creation in the country.

            As mentioned earier, new manufacturing companies will come up as a result of fingerprinting technology. These companies will be involved in production of a variety of products. It is these products that will be instrumental in the production of material wealth.

How will the technology affect the environment?

            Biometric fingerprinting technology is an environmentally friendly means of providing security. It eliminates the use of access cards and keys and hence ensures security while totally eliminating emission of harmful materials to the atmosphere. This is evident since by use of your fingerprints, that is, your own finger to open the door instead of a key, there is nothing that you to the atmosphere and hence causing no further environmental pollution (Maguire, 2009).

What will its consequences be for global climate change pollution of biosphere and other environment problem?

            Biometric fingerprinting technology will ensure that access cards and keys are eliminated. This will greatly lower the use of access cards which are manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This will greatly reduce the residual impact on the environment that these PVC products have been causing. PVC have indeed been posing a substantial and  unique environmental and human health across the world. This technology will therefore ease environmental pollution.

Conclusion

Fingerprinting technology is a very important technology that should be supported by all stakeholders in the country. It will greatly boost the security in the country and even boost the fight against crime.  Small sized finger print scanners are now available and will be crucial in obtaining and authenticating fingerprints. This technology provides accurate information on fingerprints that is critical in telling apart fingerprints from different people.

Biometric fingerprint technology has been incorporated in the manufacture of smartphones, laptops and so many other devices which nolonger require access codes but instead use the owner’s fingerprints as the accesscode. This technology today is used in doors which do not require keys or accesscodes, they are epenned by the fingerprints of the specific person whose fingerprints are recognized by the system. Fingerprinting is a major milestone in technology and will ensure great economic growth in the coming years.

 

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