The Australian Passport Office (APO) is planning to expand its use of biometrics following a request for tender published this week.
Since 2005, the APO has used facial recognition in its passport production process, but according to the office’s request for tender, it’s seeking to enhance that process by potentially employing other biometric modalities.
The agency is looking for supplier’s that have expertise beyond facial recognition, including fingerprint, iris, voice/signature recognition and analysis. As the APO conducts its search for a viable business partner, the winning companies will be expected to provide biometrics equipment, analysis software, system integration as well as training for agency’s staff.
The office’s existing facial recognition system maintains facial images from as far back as 1999. The system was initially introduced to combat identity fraud and facilitate travel using ePassports.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – APO’s parent organization – will set up a panel of companies that can provide the biometrics technology and APO personnel training. The panel will replace one established in September 2011 that expires March 2014.
Other government agencies in the country are expected to leverage the biometrics panel for their own benefit as well. According to the tender document, the previous panel was accessed by a number of Commonwealth, state and territory agencies.
Companies interested in providing their services have until January 13 to officially lodge a proposal, with the APO expected to choose prospective companies by February 3. The APO’s request for tender can be found here.