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Australian immigration and border protection minister says biometrics a key part of future development


Australian immigration and border protection minister Scott Morrison recently keynoted at the Biometrics Institute Asia Pacific Conference, and focused on the value of biometrics, future steps for biometric immigration in Australia and support for the technology.

“The future traveller will pass through streamlined automated passport control systems that examine retained biometric data and that contained in the traveller’s passport, against the traveller themselves upon physical presentation at the border,” Morrison said in his keynote address. “Should any match to intelligence or risk be identified, a border protection officer will intervene and escort the traveller from the automated gates to a separate zone for manual processing.”

According to Morrison, with biometric borders, a typical traveller will move through automated systems in less than a minute.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Morpho and Vision-Box are currently competing to secure a contract with Australian Customs for the deployment of biometric eGates at international airports throughout the country.

“Automated border processing is a key element of our future plans for the border. By 2016/17 more than 25% of the 42.9 million passengers expected to pass through Australian airports will use the system.”

In addition, Morrison confirmed that most Australian passports will be ePassports, containing a chip with a digital photograph for facial recognition comparisons by October 2015.

Morrison also spoke of the importance of data sharing between communities.

“The full potential of biometric facilitated border systems cannot be realised wholly through the collection of Australian data alone,” Morrison said. “Engagement with neighbouring countries towards enhanced regional identity management systems will allow Australian border protection agencies to extend the reach of our capabilities.

The Australian Government is growing its biometric programmes and using them for better security, service and increased efficiency. However, the true potential of this capability will not be realised through technology alone. It will be realised through cross-border partnerships. While national and international partnerships between government agencies involving biometrics will remain a key priority for this government, the borders I am talking about here are not just the lines separating country from country or agency from agency.”

Morrison’s full speech is available on the Ministry’s website.

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