- Has anyone ever asked you for your fingerprints? If so, why?
- How do fingerprints vary from person to person?
- Why did agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation accuse Oregon lawyer
Brandon Mayfield of being involved in a deadly train bombing in Spain?
- Compared with law-enforcement officials in the United States, how much
earlier did police in Great Britain begin using fingerprints?
- Why are fingerprints not as reliable for catching criminals as police would
ideally like them to be?
- Is it possible that two people could have identical fingerprints?
- How are computers helpful for handling fingerprint identification? How are
they frustrating for handling fingerprint identification?
- In what ways besides solving crimes can fingerprint identification be used?
- Nowadays, police seem to prefer DNA evidence to fingerprint evidence. Why do
you think this might be the case? Compare the two types of evidence. When might a police officer rely more on fingerprint evidence than on DNA evidence and vice versa? See www.sciencefriday.com/kids/sfkc20030411-1.html(PBS).
- The article states, “The more information that stores, banks, and
governments collect about us, the easier it may be for them to track what we are
doing. That makes many people uncomfortable.” Why do you think it makes some people uncomfortable? What are they afraid of?
- Why would Walt Disney World want to use fingerprint scans for all ticket
holders? What advantage does the technology have for the company? See www.epic.org/privacy/themepark/ (Electronic Privacy Information Center) and www.local6.com/news/4724689/detail.html(WKMG-TV6).
- How do your fingerprints vary? Design an experiment in which you test your
fingerprints under several different conditions.
- Not everyone’s fingerprints are in the FBI’s computer database. Generally,
only people who work for the government, immigrants to the United States, and
those people who have been arrested have their fingerprints saved. Do you think
everyone in the United States should have their fingerprints taken? Why or why
- Besides the places mentioned in the article, where else might it be helpful
to have fingerprint scans? Why?
Who was Francis Galton? When and where did he live? What role did Galton play in getting fingerprints accepted as a crime-solving technique? Why were his scientific contributions important? See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Galton (Wikipedia) and www.ridgesandfurrows.homestead.com/science.html (Ridges and Furrows).
- Suppose that you are a writer for the TV series CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation. Write a scene involving fingerprints. Where would the scene
take place? Who would be in the scene? What would they say? What would they do?
What would the camera show?
- Write a short mystery story that involves a fingerprint door lock. See www.sciencefictionbuzz.com/sciencefictiongadgets.html (Science
The FBI has a database of more than 200 million fingerprint records, stored as images of inked impressions on paper cards. About 30,000 new fingerprint cards come in every day. How long would it take the FBI to double the number of fingerprint records in its database. See www.ams.org/ams/mathnews/fbi.html (American Mathematical Society).