The European Commission has revealed that it will implement a fingerprint-based search capability at borders to improve security by 2017.The Commission adopted a report on 29 February 2016 about the availability and readiness of the technology to use fingerprints for identification purposes. The EC says this opens the way for the development of a central fingerprint recognition functionality (AFIS) by mid-2017.In the report, the EC states: “Border checks against the Schengen Information System (SIS) currently take place on the basis of alphanumeric searches (i.e. name and date of birth). Fingerprints can only be used to verify and confirm the identity of a person who has already been identified on the basis of his/her name. This security gap allows persons subject to an alert to use fraudulent documents to escape from an exact match in SIS.”This critical weakness will be addressed by adding a fingerprint search functionality to the SIS through an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), as foreseen by the existing legal framework. The AFIS should be operational by mid-2017.”Once developed, the AFIS will be accessible by Europol and will thereby complement Europol's systems for criminal investigation and counter-terrorism, as well as fingerprint exchanges performed under the Prüm framework. The Commission and eu-LISA will examine the potential for such wider use of the future AFIS”.The capability has been developed as part of technical improvements to the Schengen Information System to provide for real-time communication from controls on the ground, the body said in a statement.As the system is not yet implemented, the commission also took the opportunity to urge Member States to make full use of the functionalities of the system and all alert categories, including the measures involving expulsion, refusal of entry or removal from the territory of a Member State.The Commission has also revised the Schengen Handbook to clarify “non-systematic checks” and provided guidance to help border guards identify and seize false documents.In the statement, the EC also said that it presented on 6 April 2016 a revised proposal for establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) as well as the subsequent technical changes to the Schengen Border Code.