The FBI conducts 165,000 fingerprint checks a day and the job just got easier.
The bureau has begun using a new computer system that takes just seven minutes to search a database of 70 million sets of fingerprints for a possible match with the fingerprints of a suspect. That's down from the old average search time of 17 minutes.
In a recent side-by-side, five-day test of the new and old computer systems, the new FBI system turned up 910 additional matches between prints submitted to the bureau and prints in the FBI's database from earlier arrests.
Engineers computed the accuracy rate of the new system at 99.6 percent, compared with the rate of 92 percent for the old system, which had been in use for more than a decade.