How Fingerprinting Works

The Babylonians, one of the earliest civilizations, were the first to use fingerprints to differentiate people, but it wasn't until the 19th century that prints were used for crime fighting. Ever since, analyzing, classifying and collecting fingerprints to catch criminals and positively identify people has advanced, but is it valid?

I've been batted about like a helpless plaything by my (about to be former in the next 30 minutes) bank over the past few weeks, and so I'm acutely aware of the detached, automaton-type nefariousness that a financial institutions are capable of. As bad as I've had it, I'm no double amputee. Which means that when I've been asked to provide a ink thumb print on some document, I envision George Orwell rolling over in the dirt, but I am capable of providing it. Not so with a guy from Florida named Steve Valdez. Unlike me, Valdez does not have either of his arms, which makes it difficult to produce a thumb print. When Valdez went to a Bank of America branch in Tampa to cash a check from his wife's account, he gave the teller two pieces of ID. When it came time for the thumbprint round, the teller had to speak to her manager. Valdez was told to cash the check he would either have to open an account or bring his wife to the bank, reports Reuters.