New South Wales allocates AU$52.6M for national biometric system rollout

The state government of New South Wales has allocated AU$52.6 million (US$38.8 million) over four years, beginning in 2018-2019, to support the rollout of the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, ZDNet reports.

The national initiative will provide state and territorial law enforcement agencies with access to the 1-to-1 Face Verification Service (FVS), which has begun operation, and the 1-to-many Face Identification Service (FIS) using images from passports, visas, driver’s licenses, and citizenship documents. Australia’s Department of Home Affairs told a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in May that it had purchased a facial recognition algorithm for the FIS, but declined to name the vendor.

“This technology will increase the capability to identify suspects or victims of terrorist or other criminal activity, including identity crime,” the government says in a budget document.

It was previously reported that the New South Wales budget will give state police AU$12 million (US$9.1 million) to participate in the national program, which appears to be included in the investment announced today.

Two of Australia’s regional governments have balked at the current implementation plan laid out in the Identity-matching Services Bill 2018, saying that it exceeds the terms of the agreement agreed to by the national, state, and territory governments in late-2017.

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