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EFTS (Electronic Fingerprint Transmission Specification)

Background

For almost 100 years fingerprint cards have been accepted as the standard means for recording and storing fingerprint identification data. Over that period the content, format, and quality of fingerprint cards have been revised and refined. Fingerprint cards are now accepted as a national standard for the exchange of fingerprint, identification, and arrest data between criminal justice agencies.

However, because fingerprint cards must be physically transported and processed, substantial delays are introduced into the identification cycle. To improve the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint identification process and eliminate the need for contributing agencies to create and mail paper fingerprint cards to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for processing, the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division is developing an Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that will support the paperless submission of fingerprint records.

In support of the development of the IAFIS and in accordance with the recommendations of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Advisory Policy Board (APB) Identification Services Subcommittee, the FBI has developed in conjunction with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the fingerprint identification community, a standard for electronically encoding and transmitting fingerprint image, identification, and arrest data. This standard is comprised of an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard entitled “Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint Information” (ANSI NIST-CSL 1-1993), together with an Addendum, “Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & SMT Information (ANSI/NIST-ITL 1a-1997).

The ANSI standards define the content, format and units of measurement for the exchange of information that may be used in the fingerprint identification of a subject. Such information is intended for use in the interchange between criminal justice administrations or organizations that use an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), and will provide a common interface for AFISs and related systems nationwide.

While the ANSI standards will allow all AFISs and related systems to communicate, the purpose of this document is to specify certain requirements to which agencies must adhere to communicate electronically with the FBI’s IAFIS. IAFIS has three segments: (1) Identification, Tasking and Networking (ITN/FBI), (2) Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS/FBI), and (3) the Interstate Identification Index (III/FBI). III/FBI electronic communications do not include fingerprints, and the requirements are contained in appropriate NCIC manuals.

This specification covers the remainder of the IAFIS electronic transmissions involving fingerprints. The basic requirements for Logical Records Type-1, Type-2, Type-4, Type-7, Type-9, and Type-10 set forth in the ANSI standards are also applicable to transmissions to the FBI. However, the FBI-specific requirements for the contents and format of Logical Records Type-2, Type-7, Type-9, and Type-10 as well as for any special requirements for the other record types, are contained in this specification.

The Electronic Fingerprint Transmission Specification (EFTS) defines the interface between IAFIS and the States’ systems. Any changes to the data fields or formats within the EFTS must honor previously published protocols to ensure that the States’ systems are not adversely affected. Since IAFIS and the States’ systems are being developed independently, a process has been established which provides for coordinated enhancements within the various systems while maintaining reliable interoperability. This process is based in the tagged field structure defined in the 1993 ANSI standard, and a few “business rules”. The rules simply state that field definitions cannot change over time or from system to system. If a change is needed, a new field is defined and assigned a new tag number. The new field cannot be made mandatory for established functionality, but merely enhances functionality for those systems wishing to incorporate the new definition. With this process in place, every system on the network has the opportunity to enhance its own system on its own schedule, yet no system is ever forced to make a change in order to maintain current functionality.

Source: (http://www.fbi.gov) 2007