Biometrics in Australia

October 9, 2014 - 

This is a guest post by Maria Makedonas, Marketing Cooridnator for Argus Global, Sydney

In Australia, the use of biometrics is becoming more prominent in the private sector. Biometrics is now common in the public sector, however it is also apparent biometrics can be used in the private sector and in many more applications as outlined in this blog post.

Biometrics and banking:
Financial institutions are talking about the use of biometrics for their customers such as opening an account, being recognised at a branch, or even using an ATM. The Biometrics Institute panel chair Ted Dunstone expects biometrics to become commonplace in Australia over the next few years to prevent fraudsters accessing customer data, as reported in news.com.

Recently, St George announced fingerprint log-on to its mobile banking services for the iPhone5S, making for a convenient and safe access to accounts. St George CEO George Frazis says technology-based innovation was critical to the bank. “It’s difficult to respond when a disrupter has entered the market,” he said, in an interview in the Sydney Morning Herald. “You have to be at the forefront.”

We think other banks will follow to keep their customers satisfied with faster and improved security, as well as to stay on top of the technology curve ball.

Mobile biometrics:
As discussed, St George is enabling customers to access their accounts with a fingerprint. However, it was Apple’s Touch ID in 2013 which started the biometric phenomenon in the mainstream. Following suit was smartphone provider Samsung who added fingerprint sensors to their latest smartphone.

Apple’s fingerprint scanner has offered a tantalising glimpse of a future where your favourite gadget might become a biometric pass to the workplace, mobile or physical store.

Alan Goode, the UK-based managing director of research company Goode Intelligence, said that Touch ID “really propels biometrics into the mainstream,” as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald

Biometrics may not be in the lime light yet, but the contactless card known as the pay wave has changed the way we pay for low priced goods by simply waving it over a reader at the till. The rising popularity of contactless cards could eventually contribute to us becoming less dependent on plastic and more on innovative forms of payments. As reported by CNN, Luke Edwards, news editor of Pocket-Lint agrees. “This should mean a complex enough biometric security system isn’t far off from replacing pin codes, passwords and even keys.”

Biometrics and Australian airports:
Facial recognition is being used at Smart Gates, allowing Australians, New Zealanders, English and US ePassport holders to self-process following a scan, speeding up the process.

However, the Australian government has recently introduced a new border security package. The package will make facial recognition and fingerprint scanning compulsory for any person entering or leaving Australia, as reported in the Daily Telegraph.

Three-quarters of Australians are willing to provide biometric data, such as facial recognition to ensure airlines can verify passport holders. However, some people have expressed concerns about these new laws and don’t want to be subjected to the technology.

Biometrics and call centres:
Voice recognition is a computer analysis of the human voice, especially for the purposes of interpreting words and phrases or identifying an individual voice. Customers at National Australia Bank (NAB) can opt in to use voice recognition biometrics when they call in to a call centre, as reported by ZDNet. It uses a string of different questions that are difficult for pre-recordings to answer to ensure that voice clips can’t be used to trick the system.

ZDNet also reported that Adam Bennett, who previously held the position of CIO at NAB, believes that “customers are much more comfortable using voice recognition, thanks to things like Apple’s Siri popularising the technology”. Today, there are 140,000 customers using voice recognition for phone banking. NAB is already considering the expanding the application of voice recognition in ATM’S, based on customer demand. Voice biometrics in call centres improves security, increases efficiency, lowers costs, improves customer service and is available for universal usage.

Future of biometrics in Australia:
Australian government and businesses both recognise the need for new and improved forms of identification and we are likely to see biometrics applied in new innovative ways.

We are most likely to see biometrics in industries such as healthcare to make sure patient are identified accurately, childcare centres to ensure authorised access, insurance to prevent fraud, and gyms/leisure centres for access control.

The public do have some concerns, such as privacy and the security of their data, however if regulatory requirements are met there will be an increasing trust in the technology. As time goes on, we will see its use expand in Australia and around the world.

DISCLAIMER: BiometricUpdate.com blogs are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BiometricUpdate.com.

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About Maria Makedonas

Maria Makedonas is Marketing Coordinator at Argus Global in Sydney, Australia.