CrimTrac seeks firm to add facial recognition capabilities to Australian fingerprints database

June 15, 2015 - 

Australian crime data authority CrimTrac is seeking to add facial recognition capabilities to the national fingerprint database, which police and law enforcement agencies use to match collected biometrics to criminals and suspects, according to a report by ITnews.

The move comes a couple months after the Australian government allocated AU$700,000 (USD $567,801) in 2015-16 to CrimTrac for the development of its Biometrics Identification Services system business case, which will eventually replace CrimTrac’s current automated fingerprint ID system.

Since 1987, CrimTrac has operated the national automated fingerprint identification system (NAFIS), which holds 6.5 million sets of prints from more than 3.8 million individuals.

The database is reportedly searched more than two million times every year.

Nearly one year ago, Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced that CrimTrac will market-test the deal.

In 2001, the agency switched over to its current NAFIS vendor, Morpho, whose existing $30.4 million contract is set to expire in May 2017.

CrimTrac is approaching the contract renewal as an opportunity to integrate a new facial recognition feature into the NAFIS database.

The agency has invited tenderers to detail their offers for either a two-in-one fingerprint and facial capability or two standalone biometric functions.

The system’s new facial recognition capability will enable state and federal to share the 12 million images estimated to be collectively stored on their respective criminal facial recognition databases.

All but two of the CrimTrac partner agencies are projected to have electronic facial recognition capabilities in place by the time the facial recognition capabilities are completed in May 2016, according to the tender documents.

All state, territory and federal police will be able to use the new system, along with the Department of Immigration and other Commonwealth agencies.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.