If you think your fingerprints are as unique as a snowflake, you might want to think again. Experts in Britain say the idea that people have one of kind fingerprints that can be easily pulled from a data base for a positive identification is flawed. In fact, they say when prints alone have been use to “finger” someone for a crime, there have been times when authorities were wrong.
One expert, Mike Silverman, who introduced the first automated fingerprint detection system to the Metropolitan Police in Britain, claims that human error, partial prints and false positives mean that fingerprints evidence is not as reliable as is widely believed. Nobody has yet proved that fingerprints are unique and families can share elements of the same pattern. Francis Galton once published a book on the forensic science of fingerprints and claimed that the chance of two people having the same prints was about one in 64 million.
Now forensic scientists use DNA testing to more accurately identify persons involved in a crime. That type of testing gives a percentage of probability where as fingerprint matching has always been a true or false approach to identification.