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Australia to process 90% of incoming passengers based on biometrics by 2020


Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has launched a tender for companies to submit technology solutions that will replace passports and immigration officers with electronic stations and automatic triage, according to a report by Airport-Technology.com.

The department hopes to implement the world’s first entirely automatic, seamless processing system for international passengers entering the country based on their biometric data, such as fingerprints, iris and facial recognition.

Earlier this year, DIBP announced an ambitious plan to implement a new biometric system at the country’s international airports by 2020.

The DIBP first began collecting facial images and fingerprints from passengers in airports in November 2012.

Since then, the department has collected a massive amount of personal data required for the advanced system to be installed over the next three years.

The initiative is part of the AUS$93.7 million (US$69.5 million), five-year Seamless Traveller program that was launched by the Australian government in 2015.

At the time, Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection called the initiative “next generation automated biometric processing at major air and sea ports.”

The department aims to process 90 percent of all incoming passengers by 2020 solely based on their face, iris and fingerprints, which will be compared and matched to a massive database of existing biometric data.

Dr John Coyne, head of border security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said he believed the program “could be a world first”.

“Biometric capability will reduce manual processes allowing a fast, seamless self-processing experience for up to 90 percent of travellers and enable border control officers to concentrate on passengers-of-interest,” Dutton said.

Under the Migration Act 1958 and the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, Australia introduced biometric identity management to prevent identity fraud by authenticating non-citizens entering the country “at various stages of immigration, detention and citizenship processing”.

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