Australian Government Authorities Cancel Biometric Program, Citing Delays

“Responding to the project’s cancelation in a statement, NEC Australia said it is ‘extremely disappointed’ with the ACIC’s decision, and insisted that it ‘has worked closely with the ACIC to deliver the BIS project and have clearly demonstrated to the ACIC that we already have a high quality solution that will meet their needs.'”

Australian government authorities have cancelled a major biometric project with NEC’s domestic division.Australian Government Authorities Cancel Biometric Program, Citing Delays

The contract was awarded in 2016, when CrimTrac, the Australian law enforcement agency that has since merged with the Australian Crime Commission to form the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, selected NEC Australia to overhaul its national biometric identification system. Under the contract, NEC was to enhance the existing fingerprint identification system while also developing additional biometric identification capabilities including facial and palm recognition.

The project ultimately went on to run more than $40 million over budget, and faced multiple delays, with ACIC head Michael Phelan citing the latter in his announcement that the project had been officially canceled. Phelan also said he had asked the Australian National Audit Office to investigate the procurement processes associated with the contract, and the project’s oversight.

Responding to the project’s cancelation in a statement, NEC Australia said it is “extremely disappointed” with the ACIC’s decision, and insisted that it “has worked closely with the ACIC to deliver the BIS project and have clearly demonstrated to the ACIC that we already have a high quality solution that will meet their needs.” The company also emphasized that the contract was cancelled under a “convenience clause”, which “allows government departments and agencies to terminate a contract, regardless of whether or not the contractor has committed a default or breach of that contract.”

News of the contract’s cancelation comes after it was initially suspended by the ACIC on June 4th.

Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC

June 18, 2018 – by Alex Perala