Aussie government agencies launch face recognition service

November 17, 2016 - 

In an effort to cut down on identity theft, three Australian government agencies have together launched a biometric Face Verification Service (FVS), according to a report by The Tech Portal.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have all launched the FVS service.

In its initial phase, the new service will share citizenship images, followed by visa, passport, and driver’s license photos.

Last year, the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) unveiled plans to expand the FVS service in the future to additional government agencies, as well as to include images such as visa, passport and driver’s license photos.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the capability to share images was imperative due to criminals creating and using higher-quality fraudulent identity documents.

In a new government report, Keenan stated that identity fraud cost Australians $2.2 billion each year.

The AU$18.5 million (US$13.8 million) FVS system is designed to replace existing manual, ad-hoc facial image sharing arrangements between agencies to verify identities.

The system also eliminates the creation of a centralized database by agencies receiving queries conducting image searches against their own databases.

The first phase of the platform is now live, providing the DFAT and the AFP with access to images on citizenship applications held by Immigration in order to verify identities.

The government will add other types of images such as visa and passport photos over time, and is currently in talks with states and territories to add driver license images to the FVS.

Keenan said the government will extend the system in 2017 to include identification of unknown individuals, to help investigations of serious offences, where access would be restricted to “a limited number of users in specialist areas.”

Previously reported, NEC Australia together with NEC Corporation was selected to deliver a facial recognition system to South Australia Police (SAPOL).

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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.