May 9, 2016 -
Last week the Australian government announced that NEC Australia has been awarded the contract to deliver CrimTrac’s “next generation” biometrics crime-fighting tool, according to a report in Delimiter.
The $52-million system will replace the fingerprint and palm print database and matching system in use by police across Australia. The new system is expected to go live in 2017.
CrimTrac is responsible for developing and maintaining national information-sharing services between state, territory and federal law enforcement agencies. It was established to deliver on the vision of sharing national policing information to achieve local, national and international policing outcomes.
The new biometric identification system (BIS) will provide more resources to law enforcement agencies, giving them access to facial images, as well as finger and palm prints. The facial recognition component will eventually be able to access the 12 million images already held nationally in police databases.
“The Biometric Identification System will not only integrate with existing law enforcement systems, but advance as our nation’s biometric capability advances,” said the Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism, Michael Keenan. “This is vital in the current national security landscape, because it is essential to have robust and efficient cross-border information sharing to support the law enforcement agencies that protect our communities.”
According to the report in Delimiter, “a further $18.5 million has been invested in new biometrics capabilities that will enable government agencies to match facial images on identity documents with those held on the law enforcement database to strengthen ID-checking processes.”
A recent Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) report showed that 95% of respondents supported the use of facial recognition technology by customs or immigration staff at airports to identify passengers on police watch-lists and 92% of respondents felt facial recognition technology should be used to assist law enforcement in identifying people from video footage obtained from security cameras or the public.