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Australian government to invest more in biometric border controls and national biometric database


The Australian government has allocated a total of AU$450 million to increase national security to provide different agencies with more funding, including AU$296 million toward boosting the technological capabilities of the nation’s intelligence-gathering agencies.

The government will also provide AU$50 million to the new border protection service, the Australian Border Force, which will officially commence operation on July 1.

Additionally, a further AU$164.8 million (USD $133.7 million) will go toward the nation’s immigration department over the next four years for the complete redesign and build of new IT platforms for travellers’ biometric data and visa information, according to a report by ZD Net.

The Seamless Traveller initiative will allocate $93.7 million over the next five years for rollout of next generation automated biometric processing, which includes new SmartGates at major international airports and three seaports.

“Through the use of cutting-edge technology, such as SmartGates, we are providing benefits to travellers and industry while meeting national security challenges head on,” said Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

The government has also allocated AU$700,000 (USD $567,801) in 2015-16 to CrimTrac, which develops and maintains national information-sharing services for use between state, territory and federal law enforcement agencies, for the development of its Biometrics Identification Services system business case.

The BIS system will eventually replace CrimTrac’s current automated fingerprint ID system.

Non-profit global organization Biometrics Institute called the country’s Federal Budget 2015 announcement “good news for the biometrics industry.”

However, the organization also emphasized the importance of understanding all technical and privacy issues related to the use of biometrics – a topic it will address at the Biometrics Institute Asia-Pacific conference on May 27-28 in Sydney.

“We are delighted to hear that the biometrics industry in Australia is receiving such interest and this budget will contribute to its growth,” says Isabelle Moeller, CEO of the Biometrics Institute, “The Biometrics Institute offers government agencies the unique opportunity to meet the right partners in an independent forum to help implement these projects. We further provide guidance on issues of data protection, privacy and vulnerability assessments related to biometric technologies.”

The Biometrics Institute recently issued a warning to the Australian government that they must take extra precaution when using children’s biometrics for border protection and other purposes.

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