Australian Customs to introduce border clearance system with biometric eGates
The announcement follows a controversial report by The Australian which revealed that an error in Australian Customs’ intelligence sharing resulted in a convicted terrorist to successfully flee the country.
Last month, Federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison announced that the Australian government will spend $700 million over the next six years to significantly update the nation’s border management system.
The system will scan all people entering the country against a biometrics database to confirm that they do not have any undeclared criminal convictions.
Customs said it will soon issue a request for tender at the beginning of the 2014/15 financial year to secure a provider of technology and system integration services for the Border Clearance System, which will initially be deployed to process traveler clearance throughout all Australian air and sea ports.
The department also said it has been testing new biometric eGates, which will provide the foundation of the clearance system. The eGates will be remotely monitored and controlled in real-time by customs using a console.
In addition, the system will facilitate the planning and scheduling of customs officers and assets in an effort to oversee the border clearance process for all travelers entering and exiting the country.
Customs officers will be equipped with geographical information systems and hand held devices to effectively carry out their clearance duties at all airports, cruise ship terminals, and on commercial vessels and pleasure craft.
The system will feature integrated process and case management features, enabling it to automate certain traveler clearance management duties, such as issuing visas and passports, planning trip itineraries, and border processing and interventions.
Customs says it is also seeking to enhance its identity management system to ensure that border control agencies are able to take more accurate photos of travelers during the customs process.
The new identity management system would also generate “advanced analytics on live transactional data for risk assessment purposes,” allowing Customs to spot unique identities based on characteristics and associations, as well as in the case of split and merge identities.
Customs will be able to consolidate the advanced analytics information it collects in a comprehensive database of identity-related details, which can then be integrate with federated systems, and be replicated and synched across systems.
News of the border clearance system comes at a time of rapid growth for the Australian tourism industry, with Customs forecasting traveler numbers to quickly escalate from its current 30 million a year to 50 million by 2023.
Previously reported on BiometricUpdate.com, Australian immigration and border protection minister Scott Morrison recently keynoted at the Biometrics Institute Asia Pacific Conference, where he discussed the value of biometrics, future steps for biometric immigration and border protection in Australia and support for the technology.