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Australian govt agency awards NEC facial recognition contracts


The New South Wales Roads and Maritime agency is preparing to launch a new facial recognition system from NEC Australia for its database of licensing photos. NEC was awarded several contracts earlier this month to implement and manage the system over the next four years. The contracts are worth a combined total of about $8M USD.

A Roads and Maritime spokesperson told iTnews the NEC solution would replace its current IDEMIA system, which is used to issue driver licences, photo cards and motorcycle licences. The new system will be hosted in the NSW government’s GovDC data centre, but built and operated by NEC.

It’s not clear at this time if the facial recognition solution will be used to participate in the national facial biometrics matching scheme. The state government of New South Wales has allocated US$38.8 million over four years, beginning in 2018-2019, to support the rollout of the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability.

This contract win comes a few weeks after the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission cancelled its biometrics services contract with NEC. In a statement NEC denied any breach of obligations in the dispute saying, “The termination for convenience clause allows government departments and agencies to terminate a contract, regardless of whether or not the contractor has committed a default or breach of that contract”.

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