Police in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., identified a dead man with no identification in three minutes with a mobile fingerprint reader, says the Washington Post. Without the device, they would have waited at least 36 hours for an autopsy. The fingerprint system, based on technology developed for the military, has helped police solve countless cases as officers use the devices on the street and during traffic stops.
With a simple upgrade, the fingerprint readers can take a picture of a suspect’s eyes and use the pattern of the iris for identification. Civil rights activists say that could lead to a troubling and unwanted surveillance of the general public. The fingerprint devices came to the region in 2007 through a $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They cost about $2,300 each and work through remote cellular technology.