Australia considers deploying Unisys facial recognition technology for social media checks at airports

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs is considering using Unisys LineSight, which uses facial recognition to search the internet, watchlists, criminal databases and social media for connections to terrorist or criminal behavior, to screen travelers at Australian airports, Daily Mail reports.

Unisys won a AUD $44.2 million (US$34 million) contract earlier this year to provide a new Electronic Biometric Identity Service (EBIS) based on its Stealth(identity) platform and IDEMIA’s MorphoBSS matching engine to support visa, border crossing, and citizenship applications. The company has since launched advanced data analytics service LineSight to monitor multiple high-volume series of transactions and generate risk assessments in less than two seconds.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tabled the Police Powers at Airports Bill 2018, which would give police more authority when dealing with travelers. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said he is looking into all options to improve aviation security, and that a terrorist plot foiled last July illustrates that Australia is at risk.

Unisys CEO Peter Altabef confirmed that the company has had discussions with Australia’s government about introducing LineSight at airports.

Proposals to expand the facial recognition capabilities available to Australian law enforcement have been steeped in controversy since the government introduced the legislation, forcing Home Affairs Identity and Biometric Division Acting First Assistant Secretary to recently defend them against suggestions they could be used for mass surveillance.

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