The FBI just switched over to Next-Generation Identification, a new digital system for keeping track of the 83 million fingerprint cards the bureau maintains. That means dismantling thousands of filing cabinets that were once hand-searched by Bureau employees, twenty-four hours a day. Here’s how they did it.
There’s something astounding about the notion that, for the better part of a century, our nation’s highest criminal and intelligence organisation operated entirely on a human sneakernet. At the time, there was no other way of doing it. But it makes you wonder how many typos, mis-filed papers, human errors, oversights, and other mistakes got lost in the cracks.
Top Image: Al Capone’s fingerprint sheet, via FBI.