Biometrics battle fraud down under

The Australian government is moving towards greater use ofbiometrics to prevent identity theft which costs A$1.1 billion(C$906 million) annually, the federal Attorney General PhilipRuddock said today.

Addressing the Biometrics Institute’s annual conference inSydney, Ruddock said the Council of Australian Governments hasagreed to investigate how biometric security measures could beadopted by all the state’s and territories.

This is part of the National Identity Security Strategy whichaims to strengthen existing identity processes and to make sureprocedures are consistent across the country.

It supports the establishment of a national A$28.3 millionDocument Verification Service announced in the recent federalbudget. “We need to beat criminals at their own game and biometricidentification can help us do this,” Ruddock said.

And while everyone has a right to privacy, Ruddock said, “Therecan be no greater invasion of a person’s privacy than the theft oftheir identity”. He said one challenge with biometric use is thelack of consistent standards.

“Closed and proprietary biometric solutions mean that standardsare developing in different ways and there is a lack ofinteroperability across government agencies,” Ruddock said.

“This is inefficient and creates increased cost; this is anissue we will examine in the development of the AustralianGovernment Biometrics Framework.”

Initiatives currently being undertaken by the government includethe introduction of a Human Services smartcard – called AccessCard, the use of e-Passports and an automated border processingsystem known as SmartGate at Australian airports.

SmartGate, which is a face recognition system for bordercontrol, will be introduced in Australian international airportsnext year.

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