The Australian Border Force (ABF) has announced it has put out a request for technology vendors for a fleet of new portable biometric devices capable of both the collection and authentication of fingerprints and facial biometric data.
As ITNews reports, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs is seeking a partner to provide it with a “portable and handheld biometric collection capability” that can be used by the ABF to replace its various existing hardware used by ABF officers at ports of entry, as well as desktop devices used in overseas refugee camps.
“There are a number of existing solutions used within the department and the Australian Border Force for the collection of biometrics and enrolment and verification,” said a representative for Home Affairs. “Generally, each capability is constrained in its functionality e.g. it is limited to either enrolment or verification.”
Home Affairs has a history of working with established biometric technology companies, having partnered with Unisys and IDEMIA in 2018 on the country’s Biometric Border Project.
Frontline ABF officers have been using iPhones fitted with portable fingerprint scanners since 2017. Those devices are able to authenticate fingerprints against law enforcement and immigration department records and have been used to verify the identities of travelers of interest at airports.
A release from Home Affairs stated that it is now looking for a new “flexible” device that can be used by ABF officers to both enroll and verify biometric data with an in-house Windows-based application. The device is meant to replace the iPhone solutions, as well as another portable solution being used that consists of laptops with attached scanners mounted on trolleys.
“A new Windows-based web-application for biometric enrolments is being developed which presents an opportunity to combine the existing mobile capabilities into one new hardware platform,” reads the release. “This will provide both enrolment and verification within one device”.
The department has plans to begin testing devices by June, and is reportedly looking for as many as 200 units with built-in cameras that can be used both online and when not connected to a network.
February 23, 2021 – by Tony Bitzionis