Fingerprinting — A Remarkably Old Method of Verification

Posted by Kristina Taylor
June 20, 2009

Fingerprinting — A Remarkably Old Method of Verification

Fingerprinting may seem like a relatively modern method of verifying a person’s authenticity, but it actually has a long, varied past.

For example:

  • Ancient Babylon and China:  Fingerprints of individuals were used as seals for business (and potentially personal) transactions.
  • Persia (1500s):  Fingerprints were used on government papers.  This is one of the first known times in history that it was noted that no two fingerprints were the same.
  • England (late 1850s) – Fingerprints began systematically being used by the English for various purposes.
  • United States (early 1880s) – The U.S. Geological Survey, New Mexico, used Gilbert Thompson’s fingerprints on a document to thwart forgery attempts.
  • Argentina (early 1890s) – The first fingerprint ID was used to solve a murder.
  • New York, U.S. (1903) – Systematic use of fingerprint IDs for criminals was set in place by the New York State Prison system.

Today, fingerprinting has a wide variety of uses; in fact, many computers and laptops can be protected using fingerprint identification tools instead of written passwords.

It’s a fascinating study… we can only wonder what fingerprinting be used for next. 

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