The FBI may soon rely on iPhones to identify suspects by fingerprint

If you own Apple's smartphone — or any other touchscreen device, for that matter — you're already well-versed in the shiny devices' ability to pick up fingerprints. But soon, criminals may experience the fingerprinting abilities of the iPhone in a whole new way, thanks to the FBI. A new accessory called the MobileOne will allow law enforcement to scan the fingerprints of suspects and instantly compare them against a national database of wanted criminals.

The MobileOne works with any retail iPhone and simply plugs into the port on the bottom of the phone. The add-on is equipped with a biometric scanner that can read a person's fingerprints in just a matter of seconds. Rather than taking a suspect into custody and running their prints in the traditional fashion, the device could allow quick scanning and potentially clear an individual within minutes, saving both time and money in the search for a criminal.

The FBI is scheduled to begin testing the MobileOne in 2012, and once it passes its field trials it could potentially be made available to law enforcement agencies nationwide. The product won't be for civilian use, and it will only work with the government's various criminal databases anyway, meaning even if you got your hands on one, it wouldn't do much more than grab a picture of your friends fingerprints. The hefty $600 price tag should also discourage anyone from trying to obtain one for less legitimate purposes.

[Image credit: Cult Of Mac]


This article originally appeared on Tecca

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