PAKISTAN PRINTS

The State Department has awarded Lockheed Martin a $9.4 million contract to develop state-of-the-art fingerprint identification system to help Pakistan to quickly identify suspected criminals and terrorists.arch.jpgWhere do I chip in?The Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (PAFIS) comprises a central fingerprint database, criminal history system, and geographically distributed access stations to serve police forces throughout the country. PAFIS will link Pakistani law enforcement community with Interpol and national police agencies such as the FBI. The United States has a similar program with the Republic of the Philippines.Can you tell a "tented arch" (right) from a "whorl" (below)?Whorl.jpgPAFIS is a variant of a similar systems used by the FBI and the Defense Department, which use a software suite developed using Red Hat Linux 7.3 running on National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) clusters. Although the code is open-source, it is also export controlled. "It's free, but it's export controlled, which means if you get it outside the U.S. or you post it on the Internet, the export control people will come get you," an NIST manager told NewsForge.Um, yeah. The two countries have little tradition of protecting software. An estimated 83% of software in Pakistan and 72% in the Philippines, according to one study, are pirated (compared with twenty-two percent in the United States). Good luck with those export controls.--Jeffrey Lewis

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