QLD biometric licenses to go ahead

Biometric driver's license rollout to begin in November following successful trial by the Queensland Government

The Queensland Government’s new biometric driver's licences are expected to go live with the next two months following a successful trial in August and September.

The new Queensland driver licence card will be gradually rolled out across Queensland from November, with the majority of the roll out process occurring during 2011. Existing licence holders will transition to the new cards when their existing licence expires.

The new licence features an embedded chip with personal information, security PIN and shared secrets, and also utilises 16 point facial recognition technology. When drivers renew or apply for the new licence, a digital photograph will be taken and centrally stored. Each subsequent renewal of the licence will reference the image and using the facial recognition technology to ensure the driver is who they claim to be.

The new licence will also utilise a hologram, special inks, a watermark and shadowing to help combat identity fraud.

More secure, durable and reliable licences, authorities and proof of age cards are been introduced to replace the laminated cards that have been used for the past 20 years. Unlike the current laminated cards, the new cards use more secure technology and are extremely hard to tamper with or duplicate.

A Queensland Government spokesperson said that as Queensland driver licences are issued for a period of up to five years, it will take approximately six years for all cardholders to have their laminated licences replaced.

“During that time, both the existing laminated cards and the new cards will be recognised licence products provided they are current," the said.

The new cards include different classes such as heavy vehicle driver licence, adult proof of age card, marine licence indicator card and industry authority card.

“As the new card will only be implemented in Queensland from late 2010, it is still too early to determine how successful it will be in reducing identity fraud or return on investment," said the spokeperson.

New South Wales and Victoria already use facial image recognition technology when issuing their licensing cards. According to the spokesperson, the technology is being progressively adopted all over the world and is being successfully used in Australian passports.

“While the use of facial image recognition by the Transport Ministry for driver licence and other departmental issued cards is a leading use of this technology in Queensland, the department is unaware if other Queensland Government agencies may be investigating similar uses for ID or other cards,” the spokesperson said.

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