Centrelink ditches single password for fingerprints

Centrelink plans to dump its single-password user verification scheme for fingerprint scanners.In a request for tender released today, Centrelink -- the Australian government's nationwide human services agency -- said the scanners would encompass its entire network, including the national support office, area support offices, call centres and customer centres.

Centrelink plans to dump its single-password user verification scheme for fingerprint scanners.

In a request for tender released today, Centrelink -- the Australian government's nationwide human services agency -- said the scanners would encompass its entire network, including the national support office, area support offices, call centres and customer centres.

The initial purchase is to be for 31,000 scanners. They are to be attached by Centrelink to all personal computers and laptops and will be used by staff in office environments and for remote access by mobile users for conection to Centrelink's computing environment, the agency said in the tender documents.

The one year deal may be extended for an additional two one-year extension options. Delivery of the scanners is due to start on 30 June after the RFT closes, the tenderer selection is completed and the contract signed -- due by 10 June.

Centrelink said tendered devices had to be "easy for all staff to use, acceptable to and useable by a large number of people from a number of diverse backgrounds.

"The Centrelink staff base comes from a diverse multicultural background and any device should not be difficult to use by any particular group of people".

The organisation said its staff in a particular location "can currently be required to enter their one-time password anywhere between 50 and 80 times per day for logon or screen unlock.

"It is highly desirable that the tendered device be robust enough to remain effective with a useage pattern of approximately 50 fingerprint scans per working day -- plus five percent for possible retries -- for a minimum period of three years".

A Centrelink spokesperson declined to comment on the tender.