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Innovation

Australia has a new biometric border processing system

Unisys and Idemia to provide the Department of Home Affairs with a solution to conduct biometric matching on people entering Australia.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor on

Australia's new biometric system is now live. It will be used by the Department of Home Affairs for visa and border processing "to secure Australia's borders and facilitate the flow of legitimate travellers".

The Enterprise Biometric Identification Services (EBIS) system is based on the Unisys Stealth(identity) multi-factor identity management and authentication solution and uses identity solutions firm Idemia's facial and fingerprint recognition algorithms.

"EBIS will be used by the department to match the facial images and fingerprints of people including those wishing to travel to Australia such as visa applicants and the facial images for citizenship applicants," Unisys said in a statement.

"The system simultaneously facilitates the processing of legitimate travellers and is designed to support anticipated growth in visa applications, border clearances, and applications for citizenship over the next 10 years."

Last year, there were 9.5 million visitors to Australia and while COVID-19 has made the 2020 figure redundant, Unisys hopes the long-term growth in the volume of travellers will return post-pandemic.

Must read: Canberra spent AU$92 million on the now-binned visa privatisation project

The AU$40 million contract was awarded to Unisys in March 2018.

Unisys said that in the future, EBIS will provide the capability to quickly flag people who may be crossing the border with fraudulent identities.

EBIS supports face, finger, iris, and voice recognition.

"It is a robust solution designed for high-volume (more than 100,000 transactions daily) and large-scale galleries (more than 100 million records)," the company said. "Stealth(identity) provides the core biometric identity management functionality of EBIS including the user interface, workflows, business rules, identity data, and record linking and auditing functionality."

Idemia's Multi Biometric Search Services (MBSS), meanwhile, has been touted by the company as a "multi-biometric engine" that uses face and fingerprint matching algorithms.

Unisys signed with the Queensland government in September to provide facial image processing technology and services for the state's smart card driver licence.

Unisys was in July awarded a three-year contract valued at approximately AU$16.48 million to design, build, and manage new cloud infrastructure and upgrade the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) wide area network to support current weather services.

Idemia meanwhile picked up a new six-year biometric identification contract from the New South Wales Police Force in March, charged with supporting and maintaining the force's LiveScan, which processes and books criminals' biometric data.

The deal covers 142 police stations across New South Wales.

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