Fun with fingers

The movies, and the public, have a fascination with biometric fingerprint devices, yet they're among the least secure of ID systems out there. I was reminded of this while watching The Bourne Identity, in which Matt Damon's Jason Bourne goes to check out his safety deposit box at a Swiss bank and is asked to place his hand on a fingerprint reading LCD screen.
Japanese cryptographer Tsutomu Matsumoto was able to fool 11 leading fingerprint ID devices using a fake finger made of common household gelatin, like those used to make gummy bears.
Other researchers have been able to get a positive ID by simply breathing on the fingerprint readers, which take the combination of moisture on the reader and the oil left over from the previous actual finger as proof that a human finger is resting on the screen.
On a related note, the police lineup may be an anachronism. Experts have shown that the standard police lineup, in which six suspects are shown to a witness at once, is not as reliable as showing the witness six suspects in succession, each one alone. That's because humans tend to make relative judgments when presented with multiple suspects at once rather than evaluating each person independently. I read that in an article in the Atlantic Monthly.
I also learned that claiming to have evidence that you don't actually have is a legal interrogation method.