Immigration NZ trials ID biometrics facelift

Immigration NZ trials ID biometrics facelift

Summary: Immigration New Zealand has begun trials of biometric technology that uses facial recognition to verify the identity of people coming through New Zealand customs.

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Immigration New Zealand has begun trials of biometric technology that uses facial recognition to verify the identity of people coming through New Zealand customs.

Passport

(Passport and Visa image by Josh Stewart, CC2.0)

The trialled technology from biometrics technology firm Daon takes a photo of the person applying for a visa, and then uses this photo to verify the identity of the applicant when they attempt to gain entry to the country.

"Over the next few years [Immigration New Zealand] plans to use biometrics to confirm the identity of visa applicants and travellers at the border," Immigration New Zealand said in a statement. "Any technologies adopted will have substantial privacy safeguards, in accordance with New Zealand privacy laws."

The trial is not currently being deployed in regular border control operations and a decision on whether the technology will be employed by Immigration New Zealand is not expected to be made for at least 12 months, the department said.

"The evaluation is a short-term trial that is not being deployed operationally," Immigration New Zealand said. "It is separate from the Immigration Global Management System (IGMS) replacement of the current Application Management System (AMS). IGMS, once approved, will provide future operational identity management capabilities for INZ."

Immigration New Zealand would not reveal the cost of the evaluation or the amount Daon will be paid for the trial, stating it was commercially sensitive.

Topics: Security, Government AU, Health, New Zealand

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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2 comments
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  • This is Esential,

    It is only, certain personnel working within government departments that take advantage of any lax security measures, in order to obtain and sell-on certain data.
    In the main for, Identity Theft and Cloning.
    Either with "non-photographic" records!. and or for..."dual photographic use" where such data is cloned, using multiple names.
    e.g. British Isle Citizens purporting to be, Austrailian Citizens, viz-a-viz, etc .
    As this can apply to any nationality this is a clear indication of risk to national security.
    A major loop-hole that every, State or Territory must make a pro-active effort to close.
    With the full support of, The Australian Federal Government.
    anonymous
  • "Any technologies adopted will have substantial privacy safeguards, in accordance with New Zealand privacy laws."

    This is one of those empty phrases that only tell you they've read the handbook "appease the media" and ticked all the boxes. The fact remains that once information
    is out in the open,there's no taking it back. Even laws cannot put the genie back into the bottle. The only way to prevent information leaks with a high degree of confidence is to not keep the information in the first place. So, show us exactly what data is gathered, how it is stored, why anything is stored at all, who has access, how is ensured those people are trustworthy, and so on, and so forth. Suddenly it looks much less like the walk-in-the-park technical panacea the vendor promised you, does it?


    The other problem is that biometry is chasing a castle in the sky. It does more harm than good. Where fingerprints and so on are pretty good for solving crimes, they're awful for casual "identification". Compare with your front door key. That's a token that says you may enter the house and proves it by unlocking the door. It's fairly weak, but good enough, most of the time. You hold on to your keys because they're precious to you. If the key gets stolen, well, replace the lock and all the keys, done. It's over, problem fixed.

    Now suppose someone manages to fool those visual scans. We all assumed fingerprint scanners were infallible (at least those of us who hadn't seen the demonstration yet, which I have in, oh irony, about august 2001) but all it takes is a packet of gummi bears, as detailed elsewhere on this very site. So suppose visual scans can be fooled too, as supposing this is really not much of a stretch. The technology is new where fingerprint comparisons have been around for ages.

    What then, of our identities? The biometrics turn out to be easily forged, and suppose you have your identity stolen that way. What then? You can't replace your fingerprints. Why should you have face-altering cosmetic surgery just because someone stole your passport?

    In short, biometrics are a bad idea that do the victim more harm than good and actually aid the impersonator because people believe biometrics to be infallible. Clearly, that belief is wrong. Please stop pushing for ever better biometric scanning and return to passports with no more than a simple black-and-white photograph. Make them as hard to forge as you can, but ditch the electronics and the biometrics. And make sure it's competent humans that do the passport checking. We are not to be made slaves of our machinery.
    anonymous