New South Wales dedicates $12 million to integrating facial recognition for police

The government of New South Wales is investing AU$12 million (US$9.1 million) in facial recognition in the state budget due next month, iTnews reports.

The NSW Police Force will receive the funds to participate in the national facial biometrics matching system, as part of a $3.9 billion (US$3 billion) police spending spree for 2018-19 announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian. An intergovernmental agreement dictates that states will cover 50 percent of the system’s operation and maintenance costs, divided according to population, which iTnews says would make NSW’s portion for 2018-2019 $364,000 (US$275,000).

Minister for Counter Terrorism David Elliot said the funds would allow the state to facilitate facial image matching and sharing.

“For the first time this will allow us to enable close real-time cross border access for information from passports, immigration photos and drivers licences, and draw on images held by a number of these agencies to combat crime,” Elliot told an audience at a Biometric Institute conference in Sydney.

Two Australian state and territory governments are balking at the laws enshrining the system, saying they exceed the terms of the agreement, and the legislation is currently before a parliamentary committee.

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