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Relatively Permanent Pigmented or Vascular Skin Marks for Identification: A Pilot Reliability Study

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In child sexual exploitation offenses, the collected evidence images often show the skin of nonfacial body parts of the criminals and victims. For identification in this scenario, “relatively permanent pigmented or vascular skin marks,” abbreviated as RPPVSM, were recently introduced as the basis for a novel biometric trait. This pilot study evaluated the interexaminer variability of RPPVSM identification. Four dermatology physicians were recruited to examine RPPVSM from 75 skin images collected from a total of 51 Caucasian and Asian subjects. The images were separated into 50 reference (“suspect”) images and 25 evaluation (“evidence”) images. The examiners were asked to perform identification by annotating RPPVSM in each of the 25 evaluation images and matching them with the reference images. The rate of misidentification was 0% while the mean rate at which examiners failed to find a match was 6%, indicating the potential of dermatology physicians performing the role of RPPVSM examiners.
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Keywords: biometrics; body geometry; digital evidence; forensic science; identification; interexaminer variability; skin mark

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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