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Forensic Technology: Algorithms Used in Federal Law Enforcement
Federal law enforcement agencies GAO reviewed are primarily using three types of forensic algorithms to help assess whether or not evidence collected in a criminal investigation may have originated from an individual: probabilistic genotyping, latent print (fingerprint and palm print) analysis, and face recognition. To a lesser extent, agencies also use algorithms to compare iris images, speech, and handwriting. Each type of algorithm uses different characteristics in its assessment. For example, probabilistic genotyping uses statistics to analyze biological samples found during a criminal investigation to assist in comparisons to a known DNA sample taken from a suspect, or to DNA data profiles from a database of known persons. The Federal Bureau of Investigation currently uses probabilistic genotyping and latent fingerprint algorithms to help assess whether or not evidence collected in a criminal investigation may have originated from an individual and face recognition to generate investigative leads. The National Institute of Standards and Technology and other organizations have developed standards to facilitate transmission of data between agencies.
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