Biometrics funding to help deliver identity assurance, Dutton says

$8.9 million will be used to plan a high performance biometrics identity management system

Immigration and Border Protection has been allocated $8.9 million in funding during 2015-16 to begin planning a high performance biometrics identity management system.

The system will deliver “timely and accurate” identity outcomes to all of its operations said Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton.

The system was needed because it can be difficult for customs officials to distinguish between two individuals using photographs alone.

“One of our most infamous terrorists Khaled Shrrouf used his brother’s passport to leave Australia in December 2014,” Dutton told the Biometrics Institute APAC conference in Sydney.

The system would help tackle the problem of detecting false identities and fraudulent documents.

For example, the Martin Place siege inquiry found that Man Monis used over 30 names and aliases in dealing with different government agencies, said Dutton.

“To date, Australia has taken an incremental approach to the deployment of biometric technology. However, immigration is a high volume business that is facing both a rapid growth in demand for services and an escalation in threats to our safety from transnational crime.”

He said that in March 2015, a visitor visa applicant was found to have several different identities in other countries.

“By using biometrics we will be better able to assure the safety of this country through assured identity.”

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) major capability division first assistant secretary Randall Brugeaud said that there will be 50 million border crossings in 2020.

“Automation is a real objective, we need to get our officers out of doing high volume, low value activities into targeted activities where we need a human being,” said Brugeaud yesterday at the Biometrics Institute Asia Pacific conference.

In May, ACBPS began installing the first of its next generation Smartgates. A bank of six will be switched on by 1 July at Sydney airport’s international departure.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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