The Australian government has terminated its Biometric Identification Services (BIS) project citing delay in implementing the new system. The BIS project was aimed at delivering a national solution for facial recognition in a bid to transform Australian law enforcement and national border security agency capabilities.
"The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has decided to discontinue the Biometric Identification Services (BIS) project. This decision was taken in light of project delays. The contract with NEC Australia to deliver the BIS project has today been terminated. The project was suspended by mutual agreement on 4 June 2018 while commercial negotiations were ongoing," says Michael Phelan APM, Chief Executive Officer, ACIC, in a statement
In May 2016, CrimTrac, which later become ACIC, had awarded a six-year contract worth 46.8 million Australian dollars to NEC Australia. NEC’s facial recognition technology would be used to assist policing for the purposes of identification and rapid identification using mobile capture devices. The project was launched to develop a platform that would replace CrimTrac’s National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS).
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is conducting an audit into the project after a request by the ACIC in February 2018. The audit report is expected to be tabled in December this year.
“The ACIC is committed to delivering projects that enhance capability for our law enforcement partners,” the spokesperson for the Commission says adding, “As part of this approach we regularly review the scope, expected benefits and ongoing feasibility of our projects. The ACIC is committed to providing national criminal information and intelligence services, including fingerprint data, to more than 70,000 police officers and other accredited users on a daily basis, to keep them and the Australian community safe”.
The BIS solution was expected to provide national identification capability using fingerprints, palm prints, foot prints and facial recognition, person identity and evidence image case management, image enhancement tools and record auditing, and matching services of one to one, one to few, one to many, and many to many, as well as photobook, photo line-up and witness viewing services.
India’s Aadhaar numbering scheme collects biometric data like 10 fingerprints and iris scan and facial photograph. It also collects and stores demographic information like name, address, date of birth, gender, mobile number and email ID of the holder.
The only difference at present is while Australia’s BIS project is creating database and system mainly for criminals, India, on the other had done the same under pretext of providing and ID to those residents who did not have any ID. Aadhaar scheme however was later subverted to provide welfare benefits, and hundreds of other things, including giving private players access to entire profile of the UID holder.