Australian Passport Offices to deepen use of facial recognition

APO seeking companies for biometrics panel

The Australian Passport Office (APO) seeks to expand its use of biometric technology, according a request for tender published today.

The APO has use facial recognition in the passport production process since 2005, but wants to enhance that capability and potentially use other kinds of biometrics, the APO said in the tender request.

The APO said tenderers should have expertise in facial, fingerprint, iris (eye), voice and signature recognition and analysis. The winning companies will provide biometrics equipment, analysis software, system integration and training for APO staff.

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“The APO has requirements for the provision of specialised biometric support, particularly in relation to the facial recognition system/s and is looking to further develop its capabilities in this area with a view to achieving business improvements,” the APO wrote.

“It is also investigating the potential utilisation and integration of other biometric technologies into its passport issuance and analysis systems.”

The existing facial recognition system contains facial images from late 1999. It was introduced to combat identity fraud and facilitate travel using ePassports.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—the APO’s parent—will set up a panel of companies that can provide the biometrics technology and train APO employees on how to use it.

The panel will replace one established in September 2011 that expires March 2014.

Other government agencies besides the APO are expected to call on the biometrics panel. The previous panel was accessed by many Commonwealth, state and territory agencies, according to the tender document.

Interested companies must lodge tenders by 13 January, and the APO will choose preferred tenderers by 3 February. Following contract negotiations, the APO aims to commence services on 1 April.

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Tags securitybiometricsauthenticationfacial recognitionfingerprintsirisvoice recognitiongovernmentsignature

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