The Next Generation Identification (NGI) Iris Service, provides a fast, accurate, and contactless biometric identification option for law enforcement and criminal justice users. The NGI Iris Service uses an iris image repository within the NGI system. All iris images enrolled in the repository are linked to a tenprint fingerprint record. The NGI Iris Service has an automated iris search that is used for identification validation at some correctional facilities. Typically, inmates have an image of their iris scanned upon arrival. Then, when they are moved or released, staff scan the inmate’s eyes again to help ensure they are moving or releasing the correct person. In the future, this technology may also be used for moving arrestees, in court proceedings, and for probation/parole. Once the NGI iris image repository grows, participating agencies will be able to search an iris image against the repository for an automated and contactless way to identify a subject.
Iris recognition uses the features of the iris - the colored ring in the eye - to identify an individual. The iris is formed before birth and remains relatively stable throughout life. Irises are unique - even identical twins can be correctly identified with iris images.
Use cases are briefly summarized here. Iris recognition is useful in scenarios requiring very fast, accurate identification. Criminal justice agencies sharing iris data from local, regional, state, tribal, and federal systems with the FBI Iris Pilot will increase iris recognition utility and may enable additional use cases.
Correctional facilities are ideal locations to enroll iris images during existing fingerprint booking processes. Correctional facilities can use the identification service to identify inmates during movement and release. National Crime Information Center (NCIC) information provided with the search results can alert staff to outstanding wants/warrants. Additional match information including sex offender status, gang affiliation(s), and caution & medical codes enhances officer and inmate safety.
The identification service can be used to reduce administrative burden by providing a quick, contactless biometric identification with NCIC information including any wants/warrants. Iris recognition also provides opportunities for additional process automation which allows more attention on supervised individuals.
The development of smaller iris cameras and mobile iris collection devices provides opportunities for mobile use of the identification service. Mobile identification is most useful in regions where the criminal justice system is already performing iris collection.
The identification service is fast and iris images can be collected quickly with contactless cameras. Iris identification provides a faster way to screen subjects. Iris recognition also helps mitigate processing delays for individuals with damaged, worn, or mutilated fingerprints.
Unlike fingerprints, iris images are found in digital evidence but are not left on physical objects at crime scenes. Iris images from high-resolution images or videos may be suitable for providing investigative leads. Investigative searches remain an active research area being explored as part of the Pilot.